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: Jennifer Salk,
Sarah Keller, Shanga
Parker, Robin Stacey
Distinguished Staff Award:
Gary Pedersen, MaryEllen Anderson
Other UW Recognition Awards
Other Awards, Honors, and Professorships
for A&S’s Top Teachers
Distinguished Teaching Award recipients from Arts and Sciences
(from left) Jennifer Salk, Sarah Keller — holding
newborn Pascale Keller Carlson — and Robin Stacey.
Shanga Parker, busy rehearsing a play when this photo was
taken, is not pictured.Photo by Mary
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. Four Arts and Sciences faculty are among
the recipients for 2006.
Assistant Professor, Dance
Students in Jennifer
Salk’s dance history course should expect to hit the dance
floor. To teach about a choreographer’s approach to making
dance, Salk has students experience the choreographer’s creative
processes firsthand—with appropriate concessions to bodies
not trained in dance.
“I think it’s
important in the lecture class that we do a lot of experiential
learning,” Salk says. “The best way for students to
learn about the creative process of masters in a field is to experience
Salk has brought a similar
experiential approach to preparing dance teachers, forging partnerships
with local dance schools and studios where they could go to teach.
She also tries to apply
information that students have learned elsewhere. In modern dance
technique classes, Salk helps dance majors retain what they’ve
learned in a required anatomy class by choosing a part of the body,
discussing its mechanics, and exploring all its possible movements
through partner exercises. Salk’s “experiential anatomy”
technique has been attracting attention nationally.
“Her way of teaching
makes people feel at home,” says student Alice Gosti, “but
at the same time they feel challenged and are moved to improve,
to work hard and to always reach for new goals.”
Associate Professor, Chemistry
Sarah Keller’s path to teaching success was decidedly unconventional—taking
on the course she disliked the most and had the most difficulty
with as an undergraduate. The senior-level physical chemistry course
for biochemistry majors is, at least initially, probably the least
favorite for her students, too.
At its root, the course
is freshman chemistry with calculus thrown in for good measure.
The calculus helps to show exactly how and why the chemistry works,
but Keller believes it also is the biggest psychological roadblock
“I want them to
come out of this thinking this material is useful and can even be
fun,” says Keller. “And I also want them to think in
terms of learning how to work together.”
Keller encourages students
to think independently, both in her class and in her research laboratory.
“I had my own project and I got to make all of the decisions
on the specifics of that project,” says undergraduate Emily
Terrell. “…After I obtained some results, Sarah asked
me what I felt the next step should be rather than telling me where
she thought the research should go.”
“My goal is not
for all students to become physical chemists,” says Keller.
“I know most of them are not going to do that. But I want
to give them life skills and I can do that with physical chemistry,
even if that makes the course more challenging.”
Associate Professor, Drama
Shanga Parker never
thought much about teaching as he pursued his professional acting
career on stage and television in California. But that was years
Since coming to the UW
as a lecturer in the School of Drama in 1996, Parker has become
an associate professor, headed BA Studies for the School of Drama,
and has taken on directing duties at times.
Sarah Nash Gates, director
of the School of Drama, says that Parker helped address two major
problems plaguing the undergraduate population at the school: absence
of playwriting in the curriculum and low morale due to lack of performance
opportunities. He introduced “Once Upon a Weekend,”
an event that brings undergraduate playwrights and actors together
to write and stage short plays in a mere 24 hours.
“He shattered the
status quo when he challenged the undergraduate students to ‘create
your own opportunities … if you don’t get cast in one
of the mainstage productions, do your own!’” says Gates.
Adds Professor Robyn
Hunt, “I have been inspired by Shanga’s wit and sharp
intelligence, surprised and delighted by his instincts for innovation
and invention. His sensitivity to the individual needs of each student
The Middle Ages may not be something that 21st century students
readily gravitate toward, but Robin Stacey has found a way to engage
and capture their attention.
Stacey produced a buzz
in the History Department in the past year when she created a new
course that uses the fictional writings of J.R.R. Tolkien to understand
England’s past by probing how mythology and history overlap
yet differ. She taught the class last fall as an honors course,
drawing rave reviews from students. This spring she taught it again
as a senior capstone course.
“The next step
is to turn it into a regular history class, and our main concern
will be trying to find seats for the numbers of students who will
want to take it,” says History Department Chair John Findlay.
“Robin has created a means to make history compelling to students
who would otherwise not find their way to our curriculum.”
Alumnus Byron Nakamura
describes Stacey as having an “uncanny knack of stewarding
discussion almost effortlessly where historical revelations and
insights are revealed as if by accident. ...I continue to be amazed
at her technique.”
Another former student
says, “If there was any way that I could take any additional
courses with her, I would in a heartbeat. It doesn’t matter
what the topic is or the difficulty associated with it. Just to
be her student again would be reward in itself.”
for Distinguished Staff
The Distinguished Staff Award recognizes staff who contribute
to the mission of their unit or the University, respond creatively
to challenges, maintain the highest standards in their work, establish
productive working relationships, and promote a respectful and supportive
Pedersen. Photo by Mary Levin.
nomination for the Distinguished Staff Award was submitted by the
chair of the Chemistry Department and the director of Aquatic and
Fishery Sciences, who have taken turns recruiting Pedersen away
from each other in recent years.
analytical and problem-solving skills, combined with his gentle
manner with people, made him well qualified to lead Chemistry’s
staff of 50, a position he held from 1987 until 2000.
“During this remarkable
time, instructional and research programs in Chemistry nearly tripled
in size,” says Chemistry chair Paul Hopkins. “Gary handled
the resulting growing pains with efficiency and grace.”
When Aquatic and Fishery
Sciences snatched Pedersen from Chemistry in 2000, he immediately
faced the significant task of compiling data for the school’s
10-year academic review—and impressed his new colleagues with
his work. “Although new to the department, Gary astounded
us all,” recalls director David Armstrong.
“The best part
of my work is the diversity of tasks,” says Pedersen, who
late last year got recruited back to Chemistry. “You handle
TA assignments, human resources issues, budget problems, fires and
floods, sometimes all in the same day.”
In most every academic
division or department, there is one staff member so central to
the operation as to almost define it. In the Division of Art History,
anyone will tell you, that person is MaryEllen Anderson.
Anderson. Photo by Mary Levin.
Anderson, secretary and
graduate program assistant for the art history division of the School
of Art, says she has good reasons for keeping the word “secretary”
in her job title. “I don’t want to give in to the people
who see secretaries as nothing but bubble-headed, gum-chewing blondes,”
she explains with an amused look.
Feeling slightly awkward
about her Distinguished Staff Award, Anderson jokes that “I
feel as though somehow I need to up my act.” Her departmental
colleagues, of course, beg to differ.
“All my colleagues
agree that she is the most able administrator we have had the privilege
to work with—in any venue,” writes Patricia Failing,
interim chair of the art history division. “She displays a
genius for organization and insight that has anchored the operations
of the division.”
School of Art director
Christopher Ozubko describes Anderson as “not only the glue,
but also the engine that keeps everybody going.”
UW Recognition Awards
The College congratulates
all recipients of UW recognition awards. For more information about
the honorees listed below—all representing the College of
Arts and Sciences—visit University
in Teaching Award recipients Deborah Paulsen (left) and
Georgia Roberts. Photo by Mary Levin.
in Teaching Award
Recognizes graduate student teaching assistants who demonstrate
outstanding skills in the classroom.
Deborah Paulsen, Psychology
Georgia Roberts, English
D. Clowes Award for the Advancement of Learning Communities
Recognizes a faculty/staff member who creates or sustains learning
communities among students.
Angelina Godoy, assistant professor of law, societies, and justice,
and international studies
L. Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award
Recognizes faculty for outstanding contributions to the education
and guidance of graduate students.
Joel Migdal, professor of international studies
Summa Laude Dignata Award
The highest honor that the UW can bestow on a graduate, for
a lifetime record of achievement.
Linda Buck, Psychology, ‘75
David B. Thorud Leadership Award
Honors faculty/staff who lead, serve, inspire and collaborate
with broad-ranging impact that is beyond their regular responsibilities.
Mike Wallace, professor of atmospheric sciences
Recognizes two top seniors in the graduating class, one of whom
completed at least three-fourths of their degree requirements at
the UW and the other who entered the University with at least 60
transfer credits from a Washington community college.
Sariah Khormaee, Neurobiology and Biochemistry
Heather D. Evans, Anthropology and
Comparative History of Ideas
Awards and Honors
Bierds, professor of English, was
recognized for her book, First Hand. The Library Journal
named it one of nine of the best individual books of poetry published
in 2005; USA Book News selected it as the best 2005 poetry book.
Department won the Goldstar Award from the UW Graduate
and Professional Student Senate (GPSS), which recognizes superior
graduate student services and commitment to enhancing the student
Dee Boersma, professor of biology, received a Distinguished
Service Award from the Society for Conservation Biology.
Casteras, professor of art history, was appointed to the
American Art History Endowed Professorship.
Ebrey, research professor of biology, received the American
Society for Photobiology’s Research Award for lifetime research
Gamelin, assistant professor of chemistry, has received
a 2006 Sloan Research Fellowship.
Knechtges, professor of Asian languages and literature,
has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and
Morita, acting associate professor of statistics, and Jon
Wellner, professor of statistics, have been elected Fellows of the
American Statistical Association.
Nelson, Ford and Louisa Van Voorhis Professor in Political
Economy, was honored at a conference at the Federal Reserve Bank
of Atlanta that highlighted his contributions to economics and econometrics.
Novik, assistant professor of mathematics, has received
a 2006 Sloan Research Fellowship.
F. Reskin, S. Frank Miyamoto Professor of Sociology, was
elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Rhodes, professor of anthropology, has received the 2005
Anthony Leeds Prize in Urban Anthropology for her book, Total
Confinement: Madness and Reason in the Maximum Security Prison.
Rohwer, curator of ornithology at the Burke Museum, has
been named associate editor of The Auk, the world’s
leading bird journal.
Salzman, professor of instrumental conducting, and Larry
Starr, professor of music history, have been appointed
to three-year terms as Ruth Sutton Waters Endowed Professors of
E. Toews, professor of history and director of the Comparative
History of Ideas Program, was awarded the 2006 A&S Alumni Distinguished
Term Professorship, a one-year appointment that celebrates, rewards,
and recognizes faculty whose work embodies the highest values of
a liberal arts education.
Torii, associate professor of biology, won the 2006 Prize
for Young Japanese Female Scientist of Excellence from The Society
of Japanese Women Scientists.
Wadden, professor of visual communication design, was appointed
as the Marsha and Jay Glazer Endowed University Professor for a
five year term.
Walker, professor of ceramics, and Michael Spafford,
professor emeritus of painting, have received Flintridge Foundation
awards, which recognize artists whose work demonstrates high artistic
merit and a distinctive voice.
Wieczorek, assistant professor of art history, was awarded
a Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship for the 2006-07 academic
Wright, professor of art history and curator of Native
American Art at the Burke Museum, has been appointed to the Bill
Holm Endowed Professorship.
[Summer 2006 - Table of Contents]