By Ruth Steinhardt
The George Washington University held its eighth annual Faculty Honors Ceremony Tuesday at the Jack Morton Auditorium, celebrating faculty members for their work in teaching, research and service to the university.
“Teaching and research play a leading role in GW’s aspiration for preeminence as a comprehensive global research university,” George Washington President Thomas LeBlanc said. “We are proud and grateful to have your teaching, mentorship, scholarship and research talents here at GW, and we are committed to continuing to support your careers and helping you fulfill your professional ambitions.”
Dr. LeBlanc presented awards at the ceremony alongside Provost Forrest Maltzman, Academy of Distinguished Teachers Chair Christine Pintz, Associate Professor of Law David Fontana, Vice President for Research Leo Chalupa and GW senior Zachary Sanders. Besides distributing GW’s own awards for teaching, research and writing in the disciplines, the ceremony also acknowledged faculty who have served for 25 years, new emeriti faculty and faculty members who have received external awards.
Awardees ranged from graduate teaching assistants to full professors across a host of disciplines and all GW campuses. Some were nominated by their students, others by their peers and supervisors. (A program from the event, including the full list of honorees, is here.)
“Much of the hard work in teaching happens behind the scenes, and it wasn’t always clear to me that someone could see what I was doing and what I was putting into my teaching,” said Kelly Rickard, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering and one of three winners of the Philip J. Amsterdam Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards for Outstanding Teaching. “So I’m just so grateful to see that someone noticed and someone appreciated it.”
Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Faculty Prizes, the top faculty awards granted by GW, went to Craig Linebaugh, professor of speech, language and hearing science, for university service; Annamaria Lusardi, Denit Trust chair of economics and accountancy, for scholarship; and Denver Brunsman, associate professor of history, for teaching excellence.
Dr. Brunsman is a multiple honoree, having received the Morton A. Bender Teaching Award in 2016. His courses include “George Washington and His World,” held at the first president’s Mount Vernon Estate, in which students not only learn from primary sources at the estate but also contribute to it by creating their own scholarly entries in the library’s digital encyclopedia. He also takes students to the Octagon House for a class on the Treaty of Ghent, which was signed there.
Presenter Zachary Sanders was a student of Dr. Brunsman, and the two shared a quick hug onstage. Mr. Sanders called “George Washington and His World,” which he took last fall, “unequivocally the best example of an ‘only at GW’ experience.”
Mr. Sanders said the class “truly defines what the GW experience is all about: unparalleled enthusiasm and expertise from professors, coupled with sublimely unique experiences for students.”
Philip J. Amsterdam Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards for Outstanding Teaching
Graduate teaching assistants who have been teaching for two or more years and who have received outstanding evaluations from their students and supervising professors are eligible for this honor. This year’s winners were Kelly Rickard of the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, Kaitlin Wellens of the Department of Anthropology and Katharine White of the Department of History.
Morton A. Bender Teaching Awards
These $1,000 prizes can be used for faculty development activities. This year’s recipients were Diane Cline, assistant professor of history and of classics; Majeda El-Banna, assistant professor of nursing; Tiffany-Rose Sikorski, assistant professor of curriculum and pedagogy; and Bernardita Yunis, adjunct professor of the University Writing Program.
Writing in the Disciplines (WID) Distinguished Teaching Awards
The University Writing Program presents these awards to select faculty members who teach WID courses. Tyler Anbinder, professor of history, won the WID Distinguished Teaching Award; Kimberly Morgan, professor of political science, won the WID Best Assignment Design Award; and Alyssa Poblete, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology, won the WID Distinguished Graduate Student Teaching Award.
Office of the Vice President for Research Awards
The OVPR Awards recognize excellence in research and scholarship. Chet Sherwood, professor of anthropology, received the Distinguished Researcher Award; David DeGrazia, professor of philosophy and senior research fellow at the National Institutes of Health Department of Bioethics, received the Distinguished Scholar Award; Lijie Grace Zhang, associate professor of engineering and applied science, received the Early Career Researcher Award; and Yonatan Lupu, assistant professor of political science, received the Early Career Scholar Award.