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23 faculty members honored

Laura McCrystal | Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Office of the Provost awarded 20 Notre Dame faculty members with Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and three faculty members with Dockweiler Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising this month.

The awards are the only University-wide honors given to faculty members for work with undergraduate students, Associate Provost Dennis Jacobs said.

“It’s a testimony that we value this work – exemplary teaching, exemplary advising,” Jacobs said. “And we want to thank and show our appreciation for the many faculty who have devoted themselves to teaching and advising undergraduate students.”

The award recipients were chosen from nominations submitted by students and faculty members. Over 255 nominations were submitted for the two awards, Jacobs said.

The majority of the nominations come from students, who Jacobs said are best able to describe the impact professors and advisors have made on their lives.

“When a student goes on about how this professor influenced his or her life, that’s a meaningful and valued nomination,” he said. “I want to thank them for submitting nominations. And I have to say for the faculty who have won and written back to me, one of the things they always say is ‘I want to thank the people who chose to nominate me.'”

For the Joyce Award, seven selection committees representing the disciplines of business, engineering, fine arts and architecture, humanities, language and literature and science and social science made recommendations to Jacobs’ office. Jacobs said he compiled the committees’ recommendations and sent letters to the 20 recipients of the awards in mid-April.

Theology professor Gary Anderson was among the 2009 Joyce Award recipients. He said he is grateful to his students for nominating him, as well as the theology department for inspiring his teaching.

“I take my teaching responsibilities very seriously,” Anderson said. “Most of my years of teaching were spent outside of Notre Dame, but I can say with complete honesty that I have done my best teaching here because of the vigorous intellectual and religious environment of this University.”

The other recipients of the Joyce Award included professors Carl Ackermann, Seth Brown, Noriko Hanabusa, Paul Helquist, Mary Catherine Hilkert, Joshua Kaplan, Ian Kuijt, Gary Lamberti, Sylvia Lin, David O’Connor, David Ruccio, William Schmuhl, Robert Sedlack, Mihir Sen, Dennis Snow, John Staud, Henry Weinfield, Michelle Whaley and Susan Youens.

A single selection committee appointed by the office of the provost chose the Dockweiler Award winners as individuals who “help shape a student’s future, but not confined to a classroom interaction,” Jacobs said.

The 2009 Dockweiler Award winners were math professor Frank Connolly, assistant dean for undergraduate studies Ava Preacher and associate director of international studies Juliett Mayinja.

Jacobs said the University gives the Joyce and Dockweiler awards not only to honor professors and advisors, but also to set an example of excellence in teaching and advising.

“We want to provide exemplars,” he said. “That by recognizing excellence and holding up an advisor who has really impacted students’ lives, it inspires others to follow in their footsteps.”

The winners of both awards receive a $1,500 cash prize and a plaque. During the May 17 Commencement ceremonies, they will also be called by name to stand for recognition, Jacobs said.