year, the University of Washington honors faculty, staff, teaching
assistants, and programs for exceptional dedication and innovation.
Arts and Sciences recipients of these awards are profiled below.
These stories are excerpted from the University Week Awards Supplement.
Teaching Award: Ann Baker, Betsy
Cooper, Stephen Hanson
Distinguished Staff Award
Excellence in Teaching Award: Lance
Rhoades, Britt Yamamoto
Graduate Mentor Award
Outstanding Public Service Award
S. Sterling Munro Public Service Teaching Award
Other Awards, Honors, and Professorships
for A&S’s Top Teachers
The UW Distinguished
Teaching Award honors faculty who show a mastery of their subject
matter, intellectual rigor, lively curiosity, a commitment to research,
and a passion for teaching. Three Arts and Sciences faculty are
among the recipients for 2004.
Baker, Senior Lecturer, Philosophy
In 1994, Ann Baker did
the unthinkable: she gave up a tenure track position at Illinois’
Wesleyan University to come to the UW as a senior lecturer, preferring
to make teaching—rather than research and writing—her
primary focus. She recently signed her third five-year contract
Distinguished Teaching Award recipients from the College
of Arts and Sciences (from left) Stephen Hanson, Betsy Cooper,
and Ann Baker. Photo by Mary Levin.
A Spokane native, Baker
earned her doctorate from the UW in 1990. She found that she was
“in love with the world of ideas,” but she chose philosophy
almost by accident. She took two philosophy courses the same quarter—general
philosophy and philosophy of religion—and was hooked.
“I thought, ‘Finally
I found a group of people who ask the questions I ask, who aren’t
satisfied with the easy answers.’” She has tried to
bring that same feeling to the classes she teaches, giving students
new ways of seeing things, instilling critical and creative thinking.
“From the first
day of class, I could see that Ann was a great teacher because she
seemed so focused on us, the students, and our learning,”
wrote Brooks Miner, who went on to become the 2003 President’s
Medalist. “Ann always made it clear to us that the best way
to learn was to express our ideas and defend them, no matter what
the ideas were,” he wrote.
Colleagues also give
her high marks. When Professor Angela Smith came to the UW in 1999,
she sat in on Baker’s Philosophy 100 course and was struck
by how Baker “made a classroom of over 200 students feel like
a small lecture hall of 30, by asking engaging questions and actively
encouraging her students to participate in finding answers to them.”
Baker realizes that only
a small fraction of the students she sees will make philosophy a
major. Most students in her introductory classes will never take
another philosophy course. “But if they do what I ask them
to do,” she says, “they will think more philosophically,
more critically, more imaginatively, and that can stay with them
the rest of their lives.”
“Betsy” Cooper, Associate Professor and Director, Dance
Though it might have
surprised the Betsy Cooper of two decades back—a talented
young New York ballet dancer with her eyes on performance—she
has come to love teaching almost as much as dance itself.
As dancers in one of
her UW classes sweep across the studio floor and leap into the air
in groups of four—seemingly weightless with grace, athleticism,
and youth—an uninhibited grin spreads across Cooper’s
face. “Well, that was fun!” she says brightly. “I
hope you had fun, because I had fun watching!”
The students smile even
as they fuss over stretched muscles or movements that felt slightly
off. Cooper briefly stands alongside one girl and softly advises
her on mechanics of posture and balance. It isn’t crucial
to Cooper which of these dancers is bound for a professional career,
at least not at this stage.
“When we are in
the studio we are dancers, plain and simple,” she says. “Just
as they have individual goals, I have teaching objectives for the
class that are more general and specific ones for students based
on their needs.”
The students clearly
appreciate Cooper’s accessible style of teaching. Kelly Knox
sums up Cooper’s spark saying, “Her sheer joy for the
art form makes the grueling effort toward perfection a pleasure.”
Cooper is equally comfortable
in a lecture hall teaching dance history as in a dance studio. In
fact, she says she likes and needs both settings. And in both she
provides an educator’s light touch of patience and support.
“I encourage the
students to bring a playfulness to class, to challenge themselves,”
she says. There are high standards in the codified world of dance,
to be sure, “but if they can’t have fun in class while
they’re working hard, to me that’s lamentable. You have
to find the joy in life.”
Boeing International Professor, Political
East European and Central Asian Studies, International Studies
are the three reasons why political science professor Stephen Hanson
won a 2004 Distinguished Teaching Award:
1. He gives each lecture
a “storyline” that hooks students into following the
“soap opera” to the end.
2. He imparts to young
students his own fascination with the “big puzzle of the world
we’re living in.”
3. He uses time-tested
teaching tricks—such as presenting facts in lists of three.
“Lists of two and four just don’t work as well,”
Hanson admits. “For some reason, the mind can follow groups
If that sounds like
a reductionist gloss on the art of teaching, it’s hard to
argue with the accolades that Hanson has earned since joining the
UW faculty 14 years ago.
An expert in Russia
and Eastern Europe, Hanson influences generations of UW undergraduates
through his Introduction to Comparative Politics, where in ten weeks
he promises something like an overview of world politics.
His students have called
him “the best teacher I ever had” or “the reason
I decided to major in political science.” The Hanson difference,
one student explains, is the way his lectures engage students, making
them laugh and “lighting idea bulbs.”
Hanson draws equal praise
from the graduate students. “Steve treats all students —
from undergraduates to doctoral candidates — as colleagues,”
comments graduate student Jonathan Carver.
As director of the Jackson
School’s Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies
Center, Hanson enjoys launching students toward globally oriented
careers in government, academia, business, and nonprofits. His own
interest in Russia sprang from his love of the language, but it
flowered during graduate study in the period when the Soviet empire
was collapsing in the late 1980s.
“It’s just another example,” Hanson says, “of
the big puzzle of the world we’re living in.”
Now, for the three reasons
the Soviet empire collapsed…
Weldin: Setting the Stage for Distinguished Staff Award
Sometimes, Alan Weldin’s
job leads to sleepless nights. And it’s not just the usual
worry about getting work done that keeps him up.
Weldin. Photo by Kathy Sauber.
As scene shop manager
for the School of
Drama, Weldin is responsible for the physical safety of the
student actors who perform on the sets he’s constructed. It’s
a job that often involves curbing the ambitions of the graduate
students who design the sets. But Weldin is not a man who wants
to put a damper on big dreams. Whatever a designer envisions, he
does his best to turn into reality, no matter how nervous it may
Weldin spent two years
studying structural analysis and design in the School of Architecture
just to be able to predict the behavior of the materials he uses.
His obsessive devotion to safety is why there have been no serious
injuries on drama school sets under his supervision. And it’s
one of the reasons he is being honored with a Distinguished Staff
Weldin has been quietly
making practical magic in the drama school’s scene shop for
30 years. He began as a stage carpenter at Meany Hall (then under
the supervision of the drama school), then rose through the ranks
in the UW’s backstage world.
“I love working
with the creative team that is assembled when we do a production,”
Weldin says. “You bring this disparate group of people together
in one place and focus on one particular piece of work.”
Weldin builds sets for
10 drama school productions and two operas every year. “I
am consistently astonished and gratified by his expertise, his attention
to detail, his high standards, and his ability to supervise large
projects in an efficient, calm, and congenial manner,” comments
drama professor and frequent play director Steve Pearson.
That last point is echoed
by Weldin’s scene shop crew, who joined together to write
a nomination letter in which they said he was “such a great
supervisor that it almost
isn’t fair. He ruins the curve for other supervisors.”
Weldin laughs when the
letter is mentioned. “I truly believe this should have been
a team award,” he says. “Nobody stands alone in this
line of work. It’s a team sport.”
Assistants Honored for Teaching Excellence
Excellence in Teaching
Awards are given to graduate teaching assistants who demonstrate
outstanding skills in the classroom.
When Lance Rhoades walks
into a classroom, he’s thinking as much about his own learning
as he is about his students’ learning.
Rhoades.Photo by Kathy Sauber.
“I think of the
class as a chance for us to explore the material together,”
he says, which is why his main teaching method involves asking questions
for which he doesn’t have answers. It’s a method that
earns enthusiastic praise from students.
“He brought all members of the class out of their shells and
into our discussions,” Katherine Copland wrote in her nomination
letter. “He has a very genuine interest in the views of others,”
adds Stephen Holmes.
Last quarter Rhoades
became the first TA in his department to teach a 300-level core
course required of all majors, which involved a lot of writing.
“It was a lot of work,” Rhoades says in his typically
understated way. “It took a lot of time.”
But then, Rhoades has
never been one to avoid hard work or worry about the time it takes.
Letter after student letter tells of how Rhoades always had time
for them, to review their essays or talk about their ideas or encourage
Such conversations led
to the creation of the Filmmakers’ Collective. Rhoades found
that many an after-class discussion revolved around film (Cinema
Studies is a program within the Comparative Literature Department),
so he and some of his students started a group that eventually became
the Filmmakers’ Collective, which includes students interested
in directing, writing, and acting in films—or just viewing
keen on getting people who are working on the artistic end of films
together with people who are working on the critical end—really
sharing in their experience and perspectives,” Rhoades says.
It’s much like
what he does in class, drawing students of diverse backgrounds into
a process of mutual inquiry.
“I think that’s
the most satisfying thing for me—seeing students take an interest
in things that I’m interested in and getting an opportunity
to take an interest in what students are interested in,” Rhoades
says. “That sort of satisfaction comes almost daily in teaching.
It’s a nice, constant reminder of why I’m drawn to this
Even though he’s
not currently in the classroom—he is in Japan doing fieldwork
research—Britt Yamamoto says that teaching figures to be a
central focus in his future professional career.
Yamamoto is being honored
with a teaching award in large part for an innovative course, Critical
Engagements with Service and Community: Working in a Civil Society,
which he created and taught last year. The class, which he developed
with a Huckabay Teaching Fellowship, used service learning as the
core element to help students analyze their experiences and understand
the theoretical foundations that underlie concepts of service, philanthropy,
and civil society.
The course has drawn
glowing remarks from students. “It was the best class I have
ever taken and the content of it completely changed the course of
my academic and professional focus,” comments one student.
“I have never before worked so hard, or felt more fulfilled
doing so,” writes another.
While he is a strong
proponent of working for social change, Yamamoto believes service
learning programs for students need to be carefully thought out
and require more resources than are presently available.
can be a very powerful pedagogical tool if used carefully and with
great sensitivity,” he says. “However, to get to this
point, a great
deal of time is required on the part of the instructor, student,
and community. My experience has taught me that service learning
done improperly can do more harm than good. As long as there are
not ample resources available to instructors, service learning is
something that should be approached carefully.”
Yamamoto is currently
involved in dissertation fieldwork concerning newly emerging food
production, distribution, and consumption networks for soy and soy-based
products in Japan. Once he’s received his doctorate, he is
fixed on returning to teaching, perhaps at a small liberal arts
“In my professional
life there is perhaps nothing that I enjoy more than working with
students,” he says, “so teaching will always be an important
part of my life.”
Mona Modiano: “Tireless”
Graduate Mentor Honored
“When you go into
Mona’s office, you can expect a warm smile and genuine inquiries
about your life, your own teaching, your dog; and then a rigorous
quiz about your progress, your deadlines, and your goals,”
writes one student of Raimonda “Mona” Modiano, UW professor
of English and comparative
literature, and recipient of the 2004 Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished
Graduate Mentor Award.
Modiano. Photo by Kathy Sauber.
Letter after nomination
letter remarks on Modiano’s personal generosity in addition
to her intellectual example, her demanding lesson plans—“the
sheer volume of reading was breathtaking”—and her tireless
ability to foster opportunities for her students.
One former graduate student
comments on Modiano’s efforts to link him to top scholars
in his field. Others write of her help obtaining fellowships, submitting
manuscripts, and cultivating opportunities to present their work.
to be in touch with people whose influence can help new academics
achieve professional success,” Modiano says. To do this she
not only fosters ways to send students to renowned conferences,
but each year arranges for three to four distinguished speakers
to come to the UW for a week each of formal talks and socializing.
A former Distinguished
Teaching Award recipient, Modiano is an expert on British romanticism.
In 1998 she and associate professor Miceal Vaughan established the
Textual Studies Program, which considers how texts are altered
“Students in textual
studies have rich interactions with faculty on a professional and
social basis, encouraging a natural mentoring and sense of community,”
writes 2002 graduate Meg Roland, now an assistant professor and
chair of the English Department at Marylhurst University. “This
is due to Professor Modiano’s unequaled personal hospitality.”
Other students also
praise Modiano’s ability to foster a sense of community. “She
has hosted countless informal dinners and brunches at her home,”
says Rene Murphy. “Those that I have attended were exquisitely
hosted, such that each person present felt welcome upon arrival
and replenished upon departure.”
Russell: A Lifetime of Public Service
Officially, Millie Russell
is an assistant to the vice president for minority affairs and a
More telling is her professional objective listed on her curriculum
vitae: in a nutshell, to help disadvantaged and minority youths
complete undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs so they
can assume leadership positions to serve those who lack services.
Russell has worked toward
that end through countless hours spent in service to numerous organizations,
for which she is being honored with the UW’s 2004 Outstanding
Public Service Award.
Russell. Photo by Kathy Sauber.
Russell grew up in Seattle,
one of seven children in a family with a strong spiritual sense
and an emphasis on education, leadership, and helping others. She
earned a degree at Seattle University and began a career in health
care, then came to the UW in 1974 as director of the Preprofessional
Program for Minority Students in Health Sciences. She went on to
earn a master’s and doctorate degree from the UW, while continuing
her work with students and her involvement with a variety of organizations.
contributions to students, families, and the community are not limited
to one specific area or time period, but span many generations,”
says Pollene Speed McIntyre, one of the first two recipients of
a scholarship from a fund
that Russell organized.
That’s the sort
of thing Russell’s parents had in mind for their children.
Even though they didn’t have much money, Russell recalls,
they found other ways to give.
“There was leadership,
there was community service all around us,” she says. “When
we went to college we went to get an education, and we took it back
to the community.”
Clowes: Teaching Through Service
Jim Clowes died of cancer
before he could accept this year’s S. Sterling Munro Public
Service Teaching Award, but not before he expanded the definition
of a college education as associate director of the Comparative
History of Ideas Program (CHID).
College students go to
Europe; Clowes’ students started a basketball camp mixing
Catholic and Protestant teens in a polarized part of Belfast.
College students intern at newspapers; Clowes’ students worked
at Real Change.
College students study
international affairs; Clowes’ students brought to Seattle
young dancers from an impoverished township in South Africa.
“Jim has a way
of making you believe that anything is possible,” CHID senior
Erin Anderson commented in her nomination letter, “and then
forcing you to figure out exactly how to do it on your own.”
Learning through public
service—the point of the Munro award—is ingrained in
the interdisciplinary, undergraduate CHID program, whose mission
is to test ideas through encounters with the world in all its troubled
Jim asked students to tackle have yet to be solved by the world’s
brightest minds,” says Michaelann Jundt, director of the Carlson
Leadership and Public Service Center.
Sometimes the problems
are close at hand—Clowes’ course, “Rethinking
the University,” explored the future of the UW itself—but
Clowes probably made his strongest mark in expanding the possibilities
of study abroad.
CHID had programs in
Rome, Prague, and Berlin, and then added programs in Cyprus and
South Africa, where students could test themes like ethnic conflict
in places where such issues were most visible.
John Toews, who heads
CHID, considers his late colleague a visionary
and a national leader in “rethinking the whole nature of undergraduate
study through the lens of engaged community learning.”
fearlessness, expansive visions, and remarkable networking abilities,”
Toews says, “have made him an innovator who has given the
idea of service learning a whole new dimension.”
here for more about Clowes, and two funds created in his honor.
Medal for Two A&S Grads
Ng. Photo by Kathy Sauber.
The UW has selected two
Arts and Sciences students—Tan Hung “Marie” Ng
and Anna Lynn Fortin—as President’s Medalists this year.
They were chosen as the top students in the graduating class based
on overall academic record.
When Marie Ng,
a psychology major,
came to the UW as a freshman, she was the first family member to
enter college. It was her first time living outside of Hong Kong,
and she remembers being “completely overwhelmed and perplexed”
by her new environment.
“As it turned
out, it was precisely this huge setting at the UW which enabled
me to learn to seek opportunities, to learn to be bold, and to learn
to create my own unique path,” she says. These opportunities
included working with several faculty on research projects in psychology
and neurosurgery, serving as a teaching assistant, and playing in
the University Symphony Orchestra.
Fortin. Photo by Kathy Sauber.
Ng will begin graduate
study in psychology at the University of Southern California in
transferred to the UW from Yakima Valley Community College, where
she became intrigued by cell biology. At the UW, she majored in
biology and participated
in genetics research, but also found time to study Spanish and study
in Equador. She will be attending the UW School of Medicine in the
“My career goal
is to work as a family physician for underserved populations,”
says Fortin, “as well as be involved in public health research,
education, and administration.”
Awards and Honors
Aganagic, assistant professor of
physics, has been selected as an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, which carries
with it a grant of $40,000.
M. Armentrout, affiliate professor of earth and space sciences,
was awarded honorary membership in the Society for Sedimentary Geology.
Baldasty, professor and chair of the Department of Commu-nication,
has been named Distinguished Educator of the Year by the Mass Communication
and Society Division of the Association for Education in Journalism
and Mass Communication.
Balick, professor and chair of the Department of Astronomy,
and colleague Bob Brown (Cornell University) had the radio antenna
of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory named in their honor,
recognizing their discovery of the black hole at the center of the
Milky Way using this antenna 30 years ago.
Bertsch, professor of physics, has received an honorary
doctoral degree, laurea honoria causa, from the University of Milan.
Besag, professor of statistics, has been elected a Fellow
of The Royal Society, for his pioneering work on the statistical
theory and analysis of spatial processes.
K. Brown, professor of Germanics, was awarded a Charlotte
M. Craig Distinguished Professorship of German Studies at Rutgers
University for Spring 2005.
Ceccarelli, associate professor of communication, has won
the Rhetoric Society of America Book Award for her book, Shaping
Science with Rhetoric: The Cases of Dobzhansky, Schrodinger, and
Cowan, professor of earth and space sciences, was elected
to the governing council of the Geological Society of America, 2004-2007.
ichael Hechter, professor of sociology, was recently elected
as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
M. Henley, professor emeritus of physics, has received
The Ohio State University’s Honorary Degree Doctor of Science
to recognize his distinguished career in theoretical nuclear physics.
Hu, professor and director of the School of Art’s
Metals Program, and emeritus professors Ramona Solberg
and John Marshall, have been invited to donate
their early sketchbooks, drawings, and other historical documentation
to the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art.
Jonas, professor of history, has been awarded a National
Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for research on Ethiopian
resistance to Italian imperialism during the late 19th century.
M. Kirshan, professor of materials science and adjunct
professor of physics, has received a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.
Marlatt, professor of psychology, has received the Distinguished
Researcher Award from the Research Society on Alcoholism.
Nash, assistant professor of history, won a fellowship
from the National Library of Medicine for her research on environment
and illness in California’s Central Valley during the 19th
and 20th centuries.
E. Nelson, professor of physics, has received a Guggenheim
Foundation Fellowship to further her work in cosmological physics.
Orians, professor emeritus of biology, has received the
National Wildlife Federation’s National Conservation Achievement
Award for his leadership in protecting the environment and natural
Paun, Canadian Studies Affiliated Faculty, was awarded
a Fulbright Pacific Northwest Visiting Research Chair in Canada-US
Trade for her research on the Canada-US forest products industry.
Hamish Robertson, professor of physics, has been elected
to the National Academy of Sciences.
Stein, associate professor of history and international
studies, is co-winner of the Salo W. Baron Prize for her book Making
Jews Modern: The Yiddish and Ladino Press in the Russian and Ottoman
Empires, and has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities
Stone, lead undergraduate advisor in the Department of
Chemistry, received the 2004 Pangaea Award for Global Citizenship
from the UW Office of Undergraduate Education and Office of International
Education, for her efforts to expand international opportunities
for undergraduates, particularly those in the sciences.
Wallerstein and Julie Lutz, professor
and research professor of astronomy, respectively, have received
the President’s Award from the United Negro College Fund for
their contributions to diversity.
[Summer 2004 - Table of Contents]