Six Bucknell faculty members received awards for outstanding teaching during the University's 168th Commencement on May 20.
"Superb teaching lies at the heart of the Bucknell experience," said Provost Barbara Altmann. "While we excel at scholarship, we are first and foremost a teaching institution in the liberal arts tradition. At Bucknell, every day presents new opportunities for faculty to shape the lives of their students, whether in a classroom, lab, studio or residence life setting. These six individuals were selected based on the nomination of their peers, which makes the honors especially meaningful. I know the entire faculty joins me in congratulating these inspiring colleagues, who exemplify the teacher-scholar model."
Professor Carl Kirby, geology, received the William Pierce Boger Jr., M.D. Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Natural Sciences. Many of Kirby's teaching exercises and materials have been adopted by colleagues because of their effectiveness in engaging students and helping them understand complex scientific processes. He has supervised more than 30 undergraduate research projects, many leading to presentations and publications. Students have described Kirby as passionate, accessible, accommodating, rigorous and concerned about student learning.
Class of 1956 Lectureship
Professor Michael James, political science, was honored with the Class of 1956 Lectureship Award, a recognition of inspirational teaching. James is described as a demanding and rigorous colleague who teaches students to think critically and engage deeply with material, and who helps students understand the connections between theory and practice. Colleagues also noted that he is an active scholar who has been a model citizen with his contributions to the life of the University.
Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching
Professor Renee Gosson, French & Francophone studies, received the Christian R. & Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Colleagues, students and alumni said Gosson engages students as collaborators across all levels of instruction so that they feel invested in their learning both in and out of the classroom. Her teaching style is described as interactive, available, enthusiastic and engaged.
Presidential Awards for Teaching Excellence
Professor Abby Flynt, mathematics, was honored with one of two Presidential Awards for Teaching Excellence. Students described Flynt as a mentor, an ally in their learning and development, and a faculty member who models what it means to be a community member by encouraging students to invest in one another. The selection committee was particularly impressed with her Data Science Integrated Perspectives course, co-taught with Brian King, which challenges students to develop critical thinking skills of analysis, synthesis and integration.
Professor Brian King, computer science, also received a Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence. King is known for his care and attention to course development and revision, and for his engagement with undergraduate research. He has helped colleagues re-envision the computer science program to more readily engage the needs of students and industry. As noted above, his Integrated Perspectives course on data science taught with Abby Flynt was also particularly noteworthy.
Writing Across the Curriculum
Professor Meenakshi Ponnuswami, English, received the Writing Across the Curriculum Award of Excellence in recognition of her strong engagement with and support of the Writing Program, in which she is considered a model faculty member. Many of her course materials are used by the Writing Center in faculty development workshops and training for peer writing tutors. She also meets with the peer writing tutors to help them better engage in their roles as collaborators in the teaching of writing.
In addition to the annual faculty awards, the recipient of the 2018 Burma-Bucknell Bowl was recognized during Commencement. The award is given to University community members who have made outstanding contributions to intercultural and international understanding throughout the academic year, with the recipient honored at a ceremony earlier in the spring.
This year, the award was presented to Professor Helen Morris-Keitel, German studies, in recognition of her commitment to expanding and improving student study abroad experiences. She has worked tirelessly to expand the University's framework for study abroad programs and has helped students process their off-campus experiences upon returning to Bucknell.
President's Diversity & Inclusion Awards
Several members of the Bucknell community were honored with the President's Diversity & Inclusion Awards, recognizing contributions to the University's efforts to build and nurture an inclusive campus community. This year's faculty honoree is Professor Joel Wade, psychology, who was recognized for decades of effort to enhance diversity on campus and in the community.