to teach: 11 Chicago scholars win awards for classroom style
as March heralds the Oscars, so the end of spring quarter brings
the Quantrell Awards. First given in 1938, the Llewellyn John
and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate
Teaching is the nation's oldest prize for undergraduate teaching.
This year's lucky-make that talented-U of C winners were classicist
Shadi Bartsch, physicist David Grier, economist D. Gale Johnson,
and biologist Laurens Mets.
a professor in classical languages & literatures, shakes things
up in her teaching as well as in her research, criticizing even
Socrates. "People often talk about the Socratic method," she
says. "As a classics professor, that makes me smile because
we know Socrates was really one of the least successful teachers
in the entire history of Western pedagogy. He notoriously failed
to convince most of his interlocutors." As for her own style,
Bartsch encourages students to ask uncommon questions: "If we
want to play with the notion of canonicity, all we need to do
is ask different questions instead of condemning the answers."
an associate professor in physics, says he looks to his colleagues
for teaching inspiration. In his eight years at Chicago, he
has taught eight different undergraduate courses. "It's absolutely
true what they say-if you want to learn something, you've got
to teach it; and there's no better opportunity than teaching
it to undergraduates," says Grier.
the Eliakim Hastings Moore distinguished service professor emeritus
in economics, has been the director and co-director of the College's
program in economics since his retirement in 1987. He shares
his firsthand knowledge of China with College students through
lectures and discussions in his Chinese economy course. Johnson
also team-teaches an honors economics workshop with fellow Quantrell
winner Allen Sanderson, AM'70. "I just like getting to know
these students," says Johnson. "I hear from them after they've
left, and that's something I find satisfying."
expert on plant genetics, Mets, an associate professor in molecular
genetics & cell biology, teaches cellular and molecular biology
and genetic engineering, as well as undergraduate non-major
courses, and Photosynthesis, a biology elective. "The most rewarding
part of teaching," he says, "is giving students the basics of
biology and then watching them use those underlying principles
as their foundation for thinking about more complex ideas instead
of just memorizing."
four recipients of 2000 Faculty Awards for Excellence in Graduate
Teaching were Martha Ward, an associate professor in art history;
Michael Silverstein, the Charles F. Grey distinguished service
professor in anthropology, linguistics, and psychology; Sydney
Hans, an associate professor in psychiatry and a member of the
Committees on Human Development and Developmental Psychology;
and Anna Lisa Crone, a professor in Slavic languages & literatures.
Public Policy Student Association of the Irving B. Harris Graduate
School of Public Policy Studies named Don Coursey and Annamaria
Lusardi, a visiting scholar, as Professors of the Year. Coursey,
the Ameritech professor in public policy studies, won for the
second consecutive year. The Law Student Association awarded
its Graduating Students' Award for Teaching Excellence to David
Strauss, the Harry N. Wyatt Professor of Law, while senior lecturer
Borden, AM'83, PhD'88, received this year's School
of Social Service Administration Award for Excellence in Teaching.