2009 Faculty Awards
Thomas D. Howells Award for Distinguished Teaching in Humanities and Arts
Rebecca Hanrahan, assistant professor of philosophy
In nominating Hanrahan, a colleague said: “Rebecca engages her students in vigorous and challenging discussions of complex material with ease and grace. The classroom is electric when Rebecca is leading a discussion, because students are on the edges of their seats, working with her to develop arguments and to understand the material at hand. She so well embodies the values represented by Thomas Howells: humanity, honest personal engagement with challenging intellectual matters and a respect for the student as the center of the academic enterprise.” Hanrahan joined the faculty in 2003.
A.E. Lange Award for Distinguished Science Teaching
Kurt Hoffman, professor of physics
About Hoffman’s teaching, one colleague said: “Kurt is an excellent teacher. He’s good because he keeps his eye on the prize — nearly everything he does is geared toward increasing student understanding. He engages students in the classroom and forces them to think instead of allowing them to sit passively.” Another colleague said: “Kurt spends time thinking about the big picture of physics education. He forces us to question our assumptions and comes up with good ideas for change.” Hoffman joined the faculty in 1992.
Robert Y. Fluno Award for Distinguished Teaching in Social Sciences
Lynn Sharp, associate professor of history
In nominating Sharp, a student said: “After four years of courses at Whitman, I can say that Lynn Sharp is hands-down the best professor I have had at leading class discussion. ... she both provides the class with excellent discussion questions and makes sure that everyone participates.” Another student said: “Dr. Sharp is one of the most animated lecturers I have ever witnessed. I do not know how she was able to keep that level of energy and intensity class after class, but it really made a difference.” Sharp joined the faculty in 1999.
George Ball Award for Excellence in Advising
David Carey, professor of philosophy
In a letter of support for Carey’s nomination, a student said: “As a student, it is refreshing to find such a studied scholar engaging earnestly with students, without pretense or ego. Professor Carey teaches in the true Socratic spirit, posing critical questions to students, not fearing those ‘awkward’ silences, for the most important questions take time and sober introspection. He is patient, logical, receptive and thoughtful, and as an advisee, I have benefited from his guidance greatly.” Carey joined the faculty in 1989.
G. Thomas Edwards Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship
Zahi Zalloua, assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures, French
In nominating Zalloua for this award, a colleague said he “brings his philosophical sensibility and expertise as a literary critic into every aspect of his teaching, from his lower-level language courses to the world literature course on literary theory he recently taught. His Core students recognize and appreciate both his intellectual rigor and his ability to make difficult concepts accessible without watering them down.” Zalloua joined the faculty in 2003.
Suzanne L. Martin Award for Excellence in Mentoring
Amy Molitor, adjunct assistant professor of environmental studies and sport studies and academic assistant for environmental studies
In nominating Molitor for this award, a colleague said, “Environmental Studies would be a weaker program without Amy Molitor’s mentoring of our many students. I can sum up her contributions and attitude in a few words: constant availability, patient listening and invaluable guidance. Amy spends time learning about the students’ strengths, weaknesses, dreams, academic background and past experiences, and assists students as they plan their academic coursework, study abroad and plans for the future.” Molitor joined the Whitman environmental studies program in 1999.