Eight Arts & Sciences faculty recognized for profound influence on undergrads

Mary Butkus

The 2010 award recipients are (first row, from left): Sowande Mustakeem, PhD, Andrew R. Rehfeld, PhD, Elizabeth K. Borgwardt, PhD, JD, and Hugh Macdonald, PhD; (second row, from left), Brett Kessler, PhD, Jami Ake, PhD, and Eva-Maria Russo, PhD. Not pictured is Douglas L. Chalker, PhD.

The ArtSci Council honored eight Arts & Sciences faculty for “positively and profoundly” influencing students’ educational experiences during its annual Faculty Awards Recognition Ceremony April 12 in the Women’s Building Formal Lounge.

The 2010 award recipients are: Jami Ake, PhD, lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities and in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and assistant dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Elizabeth K. Borgwardt, PhD, JD, associate professor of history; Douglas L. Chalker, PhD, associate professor of biology; Brett Kessler, PhD, assistant professor of psychology and philosophy-neuroscience-psychology; Hugh Macdonald, PhD, the Avis H. Blewett Professor of Music; Sowande Mustakeem, PhD, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in History; Andrew R. Rehfeld, PhD, associate professor of political science and director of undergraduate studies; and Eva-Maria Russo, PhD, lecturer and specialist in foreign language pedagogy in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures.

Each spring, Arts & Sciences undergraduates are invited to nominate Arts & Sciences faculty, deans and staff who have positively and profoundly influenced their educational experiences at Washington University.

A committee of the ArtSci Council — the undergraduate organization and executive governing body for the College of Arts & Sciences — chooses up to 10 awardees.

One student nominator for each award recipient spoke during the ceremony about why his or her nominee made such an impact.

“We as a school council consider the faculty awards one of the most significant events that we oversee,” Monica K. Rude, president of the School Council for Arts & Sciences, said during the ceremony. “As a group, we continually strive to recognize outstanding teaching and mentoring because we believe that they make or break students’ academic careers here.

“Finding and then recognizing faculty who know and care about our students is paramount,” Rude said. “We thank the award winners — and all of the nominees — for their hard work and dedication to teaching and learning as their efforts are essential to the short- and long-term success of our university and its students.”

In addition to students and colleagues, university administrators were on hand to recognize the faculty as well. Speaking at the ceremony were Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton, Gary S. Wihl, PhD, dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences and the Hortense and Tobias Lewin Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, and James E. McLeod, vice chancellor for students and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

“We find a great deal of intellectual diversity and quality in every sector of Arts & Sciences,” Wrighton said. “I’m deeply grateful to the students for taking time to carefully consider candidates and to celebrate the contributions that they’re making to the education of our students.

“Being recognized by the students is a significant honor,” Wrighton said. “It’s a very important element of recognition.”

Wihl said he was pleased to learn that the faculty selection was “completely spontaneous” after noticing that “every area of Arts & Sciences was represented” among this year’s winners.

“You have faculty from the humanities, social sciences and the sciences,” Wihl said.

“That shows there is truly great teaching happening in every corner of Arts & Sciences,” Wihl said. “There are newly arrived postdoctoral fellows as well as full professors who have been here for most of their careers. The absolutely perfect balance here of subjects and ranks is a real testament to the depth and quality of teaching on campus.”