2001 Teaching Awards


SAS 2001 Teaching Awards

Ira Abrams Award for Distinguished Teaching:

Two faculty members have been selected as the 2001 Ira Abrams Award winners: Dr. Ivar Berg of the Department of Sociology, and Dr. Philip Nelson of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

A student writes that Dr. Berg, a former Dean of the College and Faculty Master of Goldberg College House in the Quadrangle, "is the embodiment of what a professor should be. Although he is committed to his own scholarly research, he is equally, if not more, committed to his students and to their own personal growth. He is one of the most approachable, generous, and dedicated professors I have encountered at Penn."

About Dr. Nelson, a colleague says, "In addition to a clear and engaging lecturing style, he has done the very best job of developing new courses which convey the excitement and the beauty of contemporary physics. [These courses] are triumphs-imaginative, substantive, and challenging. He is committed to conveying the aesthetic as well as the technical aspects of his subject."

Since its creation in 1983, the Ira H. Abrams Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching has been the highest teaching honor in the School of Arts and Sciences. The award recognizes teaching that is intellectually challenging and exceptionally coherent and honors faculty who embody high standards of integrity and fairness, have a strong commitment to learning, and are open to new ideas.

Kahn Award for Educational Excellence:

This award is given to a departmen in SAS, undergraduate program, graduate group, or research center that demonstrates an extraordinary collective commitment to teaching, innovation, and service. In its fourth year, the Kahn Award honors the Department of History in recognition of its commitment to general education for Penn undergraduates; its development of opportunities for undergraduate research for history majors, much of which is published in the student-edited Penn History Review; its mentoring of graduate students; and its highly successful involvement in Penn's Senior Associates program. The chair of the department is Dr. Lynn Hollen Lees.

Dean's Award for Innovation in Teaching:

This two-year old award honors creativity and innovation in instruction. The award this year goes to Dr. Millicent (Penny) Marcus, the Mariano DiVito Professor of Italian Studies in the Department of Romance Languages. Dr. Marcus is being recognized for her courses on Italian cinema, which faculty and students praise for their ability to "bring an entire culture to life" through a multifaceted approach that integrates film with history and literature. A colleague also notes her "truly inspiring leadership" of the new Film Studies minor, which has "made film a very real presence in Penn's liberal arts curriculum and, more generally and fundamentally, in Penn's intellectual life." 

Edmund J. & Louise W. Kahn Award for Distinguished Teaching by an Assistant Professor:

This award, established last year, recognizes a member of the junior faculty who demonstrates unusual promise as an educator. This year's recipient is Dr. David Koerner of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Koerner is an enthusiastic research mentor to both undergraduate and graduate students, and his course "Life in the Universe"--which he has also adapted for the College's Pilot Curriculum--has a strong following among undergraduates, who praise Dr. Koerner's ability to engage a wide audience in an interdisciplinary introduction to the subject. 

Dean's Award for Mentorship of Undergraduate Research:

Also in its second year, this award honors meaningful engagement of undergraduate students in research that is the direct result of exceptional nurturing and facilitating by the faculty member. The winner for 2001 is Dr. Cary Mazer of the Department of English, who is being honored for his work in the undergraduate Theatre Arts program, which he directs. Many students cite Dr. Mazer's mentorship on their senior theses as the highlight of their undergraduate careers. A colleague adds that he "teaches both intellectually challenging ideas as well as hands-on knowledge about theater production. As a result, a number of his students have seen themselves as having enjoyed a kind of apprenticeship with him, a pedagogical training that has introduced them to a set of invaluable tools for staging plays." 

The Senior Class Award for Teaching Excellence:
The recipients of this award are chosen by Penn's Class of 2001. Students identify a faculty member who demonstrates an enthusiastic commitment to excellent teaching, exceptional accessibility to students, a mastery of the subject matter, and an outstanding ability to communicate that subject to students. This year the awards go to Dr. Alan Mann who teaches physical anthropology in the Department of Anthropology, and Dr. Rudra Sil who teaches comparative politics in the Department of Political Science.

Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching:

This award recognizes the outstanding service of teaching assistants or graduate students teaching their own courses. This year's awards go to Paulina Alberto of history, Jennifer Ebbeler of classical studies, Robert Kane of history, Michelle Lamas of comparative literature, Samuel Trieu Nguyen of mathematics, Brandy O'Neil of anthropology, Mark Sample of comparative literature, James Saporito of history, Juliet Shields of English, and Kiernan Snyder of linguistics.


 Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching by Graduate Students

Last year, following a meeting between President Judith Rodin and GSAC Chair, Eric Eisenstein, Dr. Rodin established a new University-wide award to honor teaching by graduate students. President Rodin personally funded the ten $500 awards both last year and this year. At last year's award ceremony Dr. Rodin said, "Through our graduate students, we are creating the academic community of tomorrow. Acknowledging extraordinary teaching is a natural and important way to engage and entice our graduate students to strive for excellence."

A University-wide selection committee consisting of faculty and past awardees solicited nominations from undergraduates through email, the DP and a new web page. More than 280 nominations were received. Thirty of the top candidates were invited to submit a statement of their teaching philosophy and a letter of support from a faculty member who had supervised their teaching. From those, ten were chosen as this year's awardees:

Paulina L. Alberto History
Sanjay K. Chugh Economics
Timothy Duncan Chemistry
Thomas J. English Chemical Engineering
Amy C. Garrett History
Fariha Khan South Asia Regional Studies
Samuel Trieu Nguyen Mathematics
John Oberdiek Philosophy
Erik C. Simpson English
Jonah Steinberg Anthropology

Dr. Walter Licht, who chaired the selection committee said, "It was exciting to see the response from the undergraduate community and to read the inspiring statements by the graduate students. It was very difficult to narrow the field to ten. We are delighted to have this opportunity to honor some of the University's most outstanding graduate student teachers and to publicly recognize the valuable contributions these budding scholars make to our undergraduate programs."

The ten awardees will be honored by a noontime reception Thursday, April 26, at the Arthur Ross Gallery.


School of Medicine's 2001 Teaching Awards

The following full-time faculty members in the tenure and clinician-educator tracks were chosen by the Faculty Teaching Awards Committee to receive this year's School of Medicine teaching awards. Nominations were solicited from faculty, house staff and students.

The Leonard Berwick Memorial Teaching Award,

established in 1980-81 by the Berwick family and the department of pathology, recognizes a member of the medical faculty who in his or her teaching most effectively fuses basic science and clinical medicine. Two recipients were chosen this year: Dr. Stephen Kimmel and Dr. Emma Meagher.

Dr. Kimmel is an assistant professor in the cardiovascular division of the department of medicine, assistant professor of epidemiology in the department of biostatistics and epidemiology, and a senior scholar in the center for clinical epidemiology and biostatistics. His course on Cardiopulmonary Epidemiology has consistently received very high reviews, and Dr. Kimmel has been given a perfect score for his skills as an instructor, with comments such as "best course I've taken in the CCEB." Dr. Kimmel also serves as the Director of the Epidemiology Track of the MSCE Program. His enthusiasm and sense of humor in his teaching is contagious. Dr. Kimmel has consistently received the highest rankings possible from students, and he is equally well regarded by his peers for his ability to fuse the basic science of epidemiology with clinical medicine. 

Dr. Emma Meagher, Assistant Professor of Medicine, is the Co-director of pharmacology education for medical students. Dr. Meagher is highly regarded by faculty and students alike for her enthusiasm for teaching and curriculum development. She has consistently emphasized the importance of integration of pharmacology and therapeutics throughout the medical school curriculum and has recently spearheaded an initiative to develop a new course on therapeutics. In addition to her role in medical student education, Dr. Meagher is also the director of the School of Medicine Patient Oriented Research Training Program for post-graduate students. Her clinical practice is in the area of cardiovascular risk assessment and management with a particular interest in hypertension, women's cardiovascular health and lipid disorders. She is the Associate Director of PENN CATCH, the Penn Center for the Assessment and Treatment of Complex Hypertension and, in addition is a member of the Cardiovascular Risk Intervention Program and the Center for Experimental Therapeutics. 

The Blockley-Osler Award

was created in 1987 by the Blockley section of the Philadelphia College of Physicians and is presented annually to a member of the faculty at an affiliated hospital for excellence in teaching modern clinical medicine in the bedside tradition of William Osler. This year it is presented to Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, assistant professor of pediatrics, in the division of adolescent medicine at CHOP. He emphasizes the biopsychosocial approach to adolescent care and works to build trainees' skills in communication with adolescents. He emphasizes that clinicians are the only people who see youth repeatedly and confidentially throughout adolescence, and as such are uniquely positioned to make a difference in their lives. However, he teaches that they can best do so if they understand how to create the necessary zone of safety within the health care setting and are equipped with the skills to guide patients toward positive behavioral change. 

The Robert Dunning Dripps Memorial Award for Excellence in Graduate Medical Education

was established in 1983 by the department of anesthesia, recognizes a faculty member who exemplifies excellence in the education of residents and fellows in the areas of clinical care, research, teaching and/or administration. This year it is presented to Dr. Catherine Manno, associate professor of pediatrics. Dr. Manno graduated from Duke University in 1974 with a degree in zoology and received her MD from Hahnemann Medical College in 1978. She then served as a post doctoral fellow in pediatrics at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. Presently, Dr. Manno is the Medical Director for the Blood Bank and the Director of Transfusion Service at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. 

The Dean's Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Training

was established in 1992-93 to recognize excellence in graduate education. This year it is presented to Dr. Tracy McIntosh, Robert A. Groff Professor of Neurosurgery, Director of the Head Injury Research Center who holds a triple appointment as Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, Bioengineering, and Pharmacology. He is also Vice-Chair of research in the Department of Neurosurgery. One of the country's leading researchers in central nervous system (CNS) injury, Dr. McIntosh is funded through both federal and private research grants for the study of CNS shock and trauma, including three from the National Institute of Health (NIH), Veterans Administration Health Service and the Brain Injury Association. He lectures extensively in brain injury throughout the world and has authored or co-authored more than 100 journal articles and 35 textbook chapters. Dr. McIntosh is past president of the Neurotrauma Society where he now serves as counselor. He also serves on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Head Injury Foundation. 

The Dean's Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching at an Affiliated Hospital

was established in 1987 to honor commitment to medical education and excellence in clinical teaching by recognizing outstanding faculty members from affiliated hospitals. Two recipients were chosen this year: Dr. Charles Cantor and Dr. Michael Gliatto.

Dr. Charles Cantor, serves as Medical Director of the Pennsylvania Hospital Sleep Disorders Center and as neurologic consultant to the Penn Center for Sleep Disorders. His major interest within the field of neurology is in sleep medicine, and he maintains an active practice in sleep disorders at Pennsylvania Hospital and at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Michael Gliatto, is board certified in both internal medicine and psychiatry. He has worked at the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center since 1992 and has been active in teaching medical students and residents in both the inpatient unit and outpatient clinic. 


The Dean's Award for Excellence in Basic Science Teaching

was established in 1987, and honors exemplary teaching and commitment to medical education specifically in the basic sciences. This year it is presented to Dr. Richard Hodinka, associate professor of pediatrics. Dr. Hodinka is the Director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He is actively involved in providing state-of-the-art testing services for the diagnosis of viral diseases, participating in viral research activities and teaching in the School of Medicine. For freshman, Dr. Hodinka is responsible for a number of virology lectures and is a laboratory section leader in the "Module I Microbiology/Mechanisms of Infection" course. He also teaches in an elective course on mechanisms of microbial diseases offered to juniors and seniors. He encourages students to develop insights, reason out their conclusions, and read the literature. 

This year there are four Special Dean's Awards, which honor special achievements by Penn faculty members.

Dr. William Beck, associate dean of student affairs and professor of obstetrics and gynecology, is the recipient of a Special Dean's Award, in recognition of his outstanding service to the students of the School of Medicine. He has been a full-time faculty member in the School of Medicine since 1972, working for 20 years at Pennsylvania Hospital where he also served as Director of Residency Training. He has been the Associate Dean for Student Affairs since 1992, working with medical students as they plan for their residencies and future careers in medicine. He was also Director of Residency Training at HUP in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 
Dr. G. Paul Dabrowski, assistant professor of surgery, is the recipient of a Special Dean's Award in recognition of his outstanding teaching and commitment to the students of the School of Medicine. Although he sees himself as a general surgeon with an interest in trauma and surgical critical care, he presently functions mainly as a "non-operative trauma surgeon". He is also the Course Director of the integrated Surgery/Emergency Medicine/Anesthesia clerkship. Recent research projects include evaluating the trauma surgery experience of chief residents from disparate training programs, nutritional assessments in the SICU, the benefit of allowing medical students to audit the ATLS course during their surgery clerkship, developing and validating a tool to assist with the allocation of residents onto the various surgical services, the use of standardized patients for teaching and evaluating students' physical exam skills during their surgery clerkship, and an examination of the Penn experience using damage control techniques for destructive pancreatic injuries. 
Dr. Leonard Jarett, Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, is the recipient of a Special Dean's Award in recognition of his outstanding service and commitment in the role of former chair of the Department of Pathology at the School of Medicine. As Chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, he quickly transformed the educational activities of the Department into the top rung, including the medical and graduate student teaching, post-doctoral training and residency and fellowship training programs. Dr. Jarett provided various incentives to encourage outstanding teaching as well as research. The major changes were to recruit people interested in research and to include at least two years of research as well as to have each resident specialize in a subspecialty of anatomical or clinical pathology. Over the next decade, the program rapidly grew from 15 to 44 residents and fellows. It became one of the three top programs in the country. 
Dr. Jon Morris, associate professor of surgery, is the recipient of a Special Dean's Award, in recognition of his outstanding service to the students of Medicine. Dr. Morris has had a major role in the educational mission of the Department of Surgery as well as the School of Medicine. He was the Director of the Core Clerkship in Surgery from 1993 to 1998. During that time, he developed the problem base-learning curriculum, which has now been adopted and utilized heavily in many of the other core clerkships. In 1997, he was appointed Associate Dean for Clinical Education at the School of Medicine. Over the last five years, Dr. Morris has been the Director of Housestaff Education for the Department of Surgery. Dr. Morris' clinical focus has been in the area of gastrointestinal surgery and he had recently edited The Surgical Clinics of North America devoted to surgery of Crohn's Disease, and is the surgical editor for the Yearbook of Gastroenterology.  


Medical Student Government Awards

 The graduating class selects annual recipients of these two awards.

The Basic Science Teaching Award

Dr. Alan C. Rosenquist, Professor of Neuroscience and Associate Dean for Basic Science Education, is this year's recipient and was the recipient of the MSG Teaching Award for Basic Science in 1997 and 1999. He won a Lindback Award in 1978.

The Clinical Medical Teaching Award

Dr. John W. Hirshfeld, Professor of Medicine is this year's recipient. He won the Penn Pearls Award in 1999. Dr. Hirshfeld was a 1990 Lindback Award winner.


Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 31, April 24, 2001