Professors awarded for teaching and research

by Emily Sun | 9/28/18 3:00am

This year, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences recognized 12 professors with awards for their academic work as scholar-teachers. The winners include professors whose fields span subjects ranging from music to history to mathematics. Each awardee was selected by the deans of their divisions, while history and Native American studies professor Colin Calloway received the Jerome Goldstein Award for Distinguished Teaching, an award given to one professor each spring by a vote by the graduating class.

“It was a very pleasant surprise, but it was a surprise,” Calloway said. “For me, [teaching and researching] is almost like a balance. Any chance I get, I gravitate back to my research and my writing, but I think that if I was only doing that all the time, I wouldn’t like that.”

Calloway said that he is not sure why the Class of 2018 voted for him to receive the award, but noted that he teaches without notes. According to him, this unique teaching method “maybe makes an impression.”

“What it means for me is that every class is something that you cannot mentally prepare for,” Calloway said.

He added that his classes prompt students to “question the standard narratives and accepted stories and think for themselves.”

According to the College’s press release, dean of the faculty Elizabeth Smith said that the professors honored this year represent the ideal of liberal arts and that their dedication to both their work and students reflect Dartmouth’s highest values.

“I think that it’s a really nice thing that the administration does to recognize some faculty,” said anthropology professor Jesse Casana, who received the Elizabeth Howland Hand-Otis Norton Pierce Award.

Psychology professor John Pfister received the Dean of Faculty Teaching Award. Pfister said that he always tries to prioritize teaching and is humbled by receiving such an award.

“You only have to look at the people who’ve received it in the past to realize what a great tribute it is,” Pfister said. “Some of those names of past recipients have been the people I’ve thought of as my role models.”

As a former chair of the writing department, Pfister said he believes that teaching is a partnership between the teacher and the students. He also said that this award is a tribute to the students who help him aspire to be a better teacher.

“For my purposes, I’ve always thought I had particularly good incentive to be a good teacher because I’ve had particularly good students,” Pfister said.

In addition to their love of teaching, the award-winners also cited their passion for their fields of study.

“The thing that I love the most is doing the archeology,” Casana said. “I feel really lucky to have been able to make a career out of something that’s really just a hobby for a lot of people. Every time I get to do it, I just get giddy.”

Casana said that he involves his students in a lot of the work he does, whether this means research or hands-on components of his classes.

“In the liberal arts, I think the communication with people who really want to learn and have a passion for something is at the heart of that,” Pfister said. “So I’d like to think that one of the ideals I embody is that I try to approach things as a teaching opportunity.”