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School of Arts and Sciences 2006 Teaching Awards

Dr. Rebecca W. Bushnell, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Dennis DeTurck, dean of the College, are pleased to announce the following recipients of the School’s 2006 teaching awards, to be presented on Monday, April 24 at an awards reception that is open to the University community. The reception will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Upper Egyptian Gallery of the Penn Museum.

Ira H. Abrams Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching

This year the School is conferring its highest teaching honor on two faculty members. 

Vijay Balasubramanian

Vijay Balasubramanian, Merriam Term Associate Professor of Physics, is well-regarded by students in all of his undergraduate and graduate courses, but it is “The Big Bang and Beyond,” his astrophysics course for non-science majors, that draws especially rave reviews.  The course is cited by many undergraduates in the humanities and social sciences as their favorite at Penn; as one of his TA’s in the course writes, “it truly [makes] students from other fields appreciate the importance, beauty, and richness of science.”

The second honoree is John Richetti, the A. M. Rosenthal Professor of English.  Faculty and students alike hail him as a “pedagogical phenomenon” who as a teacher of eighteenth-century literature is “not only lively and fun, [but also has a] unique capacity to connect deeply both with literature and with his students, to treat them with different but equal forms of devotion.”

John Richetti

In addition, a colleague praises “his commitment to fostering and promoting other good teachers and ensuring that, as a group, we never forget that teaching lies at the heart of our enterprise.”

Created in 1983, the Ira H. Abrams Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching 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.


Dean’s Award for Innovation in Teaching

Heather Love

This award, which recognizes exceptional creativity and innovation in instruction, goes to Heather Love, Assistant Professor of English, in recognition of her dynamic yet even-handed approach to teaching the potentially polarizing subjects of sexuality and gender.  One student writes that her class has “actually changed my life.  It goes far beyond sexuality and gender; it’s really about what it means to be a socialized human being.”




Dean’s Award for Mentorship of Undergraduate Research

Ted Abel

This award recognizes faculty members who have excelled in nurturing students’ desires and abilities to conduct meaningful research. This year’s honoree is Edwin (Ted) Abel, Associate Professor of Biology.  Some 30 undergraduates have worked in Professor Abel’s laboratory since he arrived at Penn in 1998, and eight papers produced by his lab have been co-authored by undergraduates.   These students clearly find the experience of working with Professor Abel to be a rewarding one, writing comments like, “Ted never treats me like an undergraduate, but as a scientist.” and “It is due to Dr. Abel’s encouragement that I am on my current path.” 



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

Ronald Granieri

This award recognizes a member of the junior faculty who demonstrates unusual promise as an educator. This year’s recipient is Ronald Granieri, Assistant Professor of History.  His classes on European international politics and diplomacy, including several large survey courses, have earned a strong following among History and International Relations majors.  They hail Professor Granieri’s “extraordinarily engaging and lively lecture style” and his “ability to convert students to the intellectual cause.”


Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by Affiliated Faculty

Janet Monge

This award recognizes the contributions to undergraduate education made by the School’s non-standing faculty. This year there are two recipients.  The first, Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology Janet Monge, is well-known among students for her courses on human evolution and physical anthropology. Writes one, “Dr. Monge has changed the way I think about Anthropology, about Evolution/Adaptation, and in general how I think about going to class.”

Andrew Shatté

Dr. Monge shares the award with Andrew Shatté, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology.  His introductory psychology courses are some of the largest in the College but consistently draw comments like “Andrew has a magical ability to take a terribly impersonal setting and turn it into a seemingly individual dialogue with each student.”



Peter Struck

CGS Distinguished Teaching Award

This award honors outstanding teaching and advising in the College of General Studies (CGS).  Two awards are being presented this year, one for standing faculty member and one for non-standing faculty.  The former is awarded to Peter Struck, Associate Professor of Classical Studies, who has taught in CGS’s undergraduate, post-baccalaureate classical studies, Master of Liberal Arts, and PennAdvance online programs.  An MLA student writes, “His ability to show parallels between ancient social practices and modern society and his genuine enthusiasm for teaching create a dynamic, thought-provoking atmosphere in the classroom.” 

David Espey

David Espey, Associate Undergraduate Chair of English, earns the non-standing faculty honor.  In courses on topics ranging from travel writing to modernism, he has garnered high marks from his CGS students, one of whom writes, “In attending Prof. Espey’s class I found inspiration and a burning love for poetry!”

Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by Graduate Students

This award recognizes graduate students for teaching that is intellectually rigorous, exceptionally coherent, and has a considerable impact on undergraduate students. This year’s awards will go to:

Jennifer Higginbotham, English
Andria Johnson, History and Sociology of Science
Julie-Francoise Kruidenier, Comparative Literature
Lázló Kürti, Chemistry
Enkeleida Lakuriqi, Physics and Astronomy
Sarah Manekin, History
Michael McDuffee, Mathematics
Dahlia Porter, English
Jamie Taylor, Comparative Literature
Anthony Yuen, Economics




  Almanac, Vol. 52, No. 30, April 18, 2006


April 18, 2006
Volume 52 Number 30


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