Three Arts & Sciences faculty receive inaugural awards

A new tradition was started at the Arts & Sciences’ annual faculty reception, which was held Sept. 10 in Holmes Lounge.

In addition to the usual introduction of new faculty at the beginning of the fall semester (see Arts & Sciences new faculty in 2009), two new awards that recognize the contributions of tenured faculty were presented to three faculty members during the reception.

Gary S. Wihl, Ph.D., dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences and the Lewin Distinguished Professor in the Humanities — presiding at his first Arts & Sciences Faculty Reception since becoming dean July 1 — introduced the new faculty and presented the inaugural awards.

Mary Ann Dzuback, Ph.D., associate professor and director of women, gender, and sexuality studies and associate professor of education and adjunct associate professor of history; and Elzbieta Sklodowska, Ph.D., the Randolph Family Professor in Arts & Sciences and chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, received the Arts & Sciences Distinguished Leadership Award.

Thomas J. Bernatowicz, Ph.D., professor of physics, received the David Hadas Teaching Award.

“I’m pleased to start a new academic year, and my term as dean, by recognizing three outstanding colleagues, whose dedication to the University enriches the work of our students and faculty,” Wihl said. “I look forward to welcoming back Pamela Hadas in future years, a distinguished poet in her own right, as we continue to identify outstanding teachers for the David Hadas award.”

Ralph S. Quatrano, Ph.D., the Spencer T. Olin Professor in Arts & Sciences, established the Distinguished Leadership Award last academic year while he was interim dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences.

The leadership award, which will be presented annually to two recipients, recognizes faculty who dedicate their time, energy and expertise to the advancement of Arts & Sciences and the University, above and beyond a commitment to research and teaching.

Dzuback, who has been director of the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program since 2006, was nominated for this award by a group in her program who referred to her as having “strengthened our program in untold ways.”

“In the current economic climate, when women’s studies programs are being eliminated nationwide and where women are still underrepresented among university faculty and administrators, Mary Ann Dzuback offers a model of the potential for women as both scholars and administrators in academe,” the nominating group wrote.

“Through her inspired leadership, creative problem solving and indefatigable administration, Washington University now enjoys a thriving, energetic Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program that attracts a growing number of graduate and undergraduate students who have available unparalleled opportunities for intellectual, professional and personal growth.”

Dzuback, who received special recognition for excellence in mentoring from the Graduate Student Senate in spring 2008, serves on a number of University committees, including the Provost’s Diversity Work Group, for which she chairs the subcommittee on mentoring, and the Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault, for which she is chair of the search committee for the assistant director for sexual assault prevention and community health position.

She also served on the Advisory Committee on the Appointment of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences and chaired the Arts & Sciences Curriculum Committee, among many others.

As chair of Romance languages and literatures for six years, Sklodowska leads a department as diverse as the four languages that are housed there — French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

Sklodowska, a professor of Spanish, works with some 40 full-time faculty and 30 graduate students. There are more than 200 undergraduate majors and minors in the department.

Her peers describe her as a “superb chair,” who is “dedicated, principled and fair-minded.”

Sklodowska’s main area of study and research is Spanish-American culture and literature. Her regional focus is on the Caribbean and Cuba, and she works extensively on contemporary Cuban literature and culture.

Sklodowska and Joseph Schraibman, Ph.D., professor of Spanish, developed and taught the first seminar for the freshman FOCUS Program on Cuba in Arts & Sciences in 2001.

She described creating the still-popular program, which includes a study trip to Havana that provides firsthand experience of Cuban everyday life, as one of her “most personally rewarding experiences.”

She has served on numerous University committees, including as co-chair of the Advisory Committee on the Appointment of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences; a member of the Arts & Sciences Master Planning Committee; and chair of departmental search committees. She is a member of the Provost’s Diversity Work Group, the Academic Planning Committee and a faculty fellow in the provost’s office.

Hadas Teaching Award

The David Hadas Teaching Award recognizes an outstanding tenured faculty member in Arts & Sciences who demonstrates commitment and excellence in teaching first-year undergraduates.

Pamela W. Hadas, Ph.D., widow of David Hadas, a beloved Arts & Sciences professor known for his warm personality and Socratic teaching style, established the award in his memory.

David Hadas, Ph.D., was a renowned professor of both English and of religious studies for nearly 40 years until his death in 2004. His courses were legendary, especially his “Bible as Literature” class. Many students say he changed their lives. He continued teaching, even while battling cancer.

Pamela Hadas, who earned a bachelor of arts, master of arts and doctorate from Washington University and who recently retired from teaching at the University of Colorado, attended the faculty reception.

Bernatowicz, a member of the physics faculty since 1998, earned a doctorate from WUSTL in 1980. His research focuses on detailed laboratory observations of presolar grains from meteorites to draw inferences about the physical conditions in ancient circumstellar environments and about the formation of dust in the galaxy.

In 2004, Bernatowicz introduced “Physics 197/198,” a calculus-based physics sequence based on the innovative teaching methods of Thomas A. Moore of Pomona College and set forth in Moore’s textbook “Six Ideas That Shaped Physics.”

Rather than being a traditional lecture-based science course, “Physics 197/198” uses interactive learning techniques typically found in language and literature classes. Students are trained to think and to address problems the way that physicists do.

Kenneth F. Kelton, Ph.D., the Arthur Holly Compton Professor in Arts & Sciences and chair of the Department of Physics, nominated Bernatowicz for the award.

In his nomination letter, Kelton referred to Bernatowicz as “the most popular teacher in our introductory physics course that I have seen in the 24 years that I have been on the faculty of Washington University, almost always receiving standing ovations on the last day of class. He is also by far the most innovative. … Tom is a leader, helping to lay paths for new ways to teach science that reach far beyond the introductory physics course.”