U.Va. Presents First Faculty Mentoring Awards at 17th Annual Teaching Awards Banquet

April 26, 2007 -- The University of Virginia has bestowed its first Excellence in Faculty Mentoring Awards on Darden professor Sherwood C. Frey Jr. and environmental sciences professor Janet S. Herman.

Frey, the Ethyl Corporation Professor of Business Administration, who teaches first-year quantitative analysis, and bargaining and negotiating, and Herman, who teaches geochemistry, kinetics of water-rock interactions and geochemical modeling, were among those honored by University President John T. Casteen III at an annual outstanding teaching awards banquet, held on April 25. 

Casteen congratulated his “colleagues who in their work transmit and create knowledge and in doing so link the generations one to the other. All of us mindful of the past, concerned about the present and invested in the future, owe you a debt of gratitude.”

The mentoring award, established this year, recognizes the influence of more experienced faculty on the newer members of their department. The teaching awards, which have been presented by the University for 17 years, honor excellence in teaching and research.

Excellence in Faculty Mentoring Awards

Frey is a founding member of Excellence in Diversity Fellows Program. He supports professional development for minority faculty and has helped many junior faculty members develop long-term careers at U.Va. “Mentoring allows me to pay homage to those who have mentored me,” he said.

Herman has provided opportunities for junior faculty colleagues and created an inclusive environment and sense of community for them. She has helped colleagues with challenges that face many young women faculty, balancing family and work, and developing an effective voice in a department dominated by senior male colleagues. “I realized I must be active in building my ideal professional community,” Herman said.

Teaching award-winners

Mitchell S. Green, an associate professor of philosophy, received the Cavaliers’ Distinguished Teaching Professorship. Green believes  “teaching and inquiry are one,” and that his research comes to life only when he shares it with students. He relies on them as a proving ground for the adequacy of his ideas as they depend on him to discern the quality of theirs.

Stephen D. Arata, an associate professor of English, received the Richard A. and Sara Page Mayo NEH Distinguished Teaching Professorship. Arata plans to use this endowed chair to increase communication among Virginia college humanities teachers, including developing Web forums for teachers and students to exchange ideas about similar material and helping lecturers visit colleagues’ classes.

Dr. John Kattwinkel, a pediatrics professor, received the Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award. Dr. Kattwinkel is the premier neonatologist in the United States, a dedicated, gifted physician-instructor and role model who has expanded his educational endeavors to a national and global audience.

Margarita Nafpaktitis, assistant professor of Slavic languages and literature, received the Alumni Board of Trustees Teaching Award. Nafpaktitis wants to “reach beyond disciplinary limits to convince students of the rewards in seeking out the unfamiliar…in feeling things in their own individual ways.”

All-University Teaching Awards

Randy L. Bell
of the Curry School of Education believes successful teaching hinges on the respect and enthusiasm he has for both science and his students. His greatest joy is when his students recognize these characteristics in his instruction.

Edward J. Berger
of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering operates on the principles of “communicate high expectations, demonstrate patience and speak the learner’s language.” His classroom innovations include enhanced podcasts, online video solutions, a class blog and live, online problem sessions.

Emily J. Blanchard
of the economics department believes quality teaching is better reflected in what it inspires students to do outside the classroom than what they achieve within it. She wants her students to be more skilled thinkers who will become leaders and thoughtful contributors to public discourse.

Mary Margaret Frank
of the Darden School of Business seeks to stretch students’ minds and encourage them to become critical thinkers, risk takers, communicators, teachers, listeners, leaders and team players.

Clare R. Kinney of the English department tells her students “the past is another country: they do things differently there,” and suggests that “the study of older English literature involves paying as much attention to issues of multiculturalism and diversity as any course on contemporary literature.” 

Stephen A. Macko
of the environmental sciences department has pioneered “teleducation,” nationally and internationally, in an effort to make U.Va. a leader in the dissemination of technology-based, distance-learning programs. “I have the profound good fortune to integrate my own experiences, as well as those of collaborators, to communicate the dynamic nature of the process of discovery,” Macko said. “This is really why I teach.”

Louis P. Nelson of the architectural history department wants to engage architecture as a window into culture in a critical, intellectually rigorous context. “Critical thinking and successful writing — in my estimation the two most important aspects of teaching — are inseparable,” he said.

J.H. (Rip) Verkerke
of the Law School describes himself as “a hopeless perfectionist about teaching,” believing that meticulous preparation makes excellent teaching possible. “Passion motivates students and creativity fuels spontaneous insights in the classroom,” he said. “One of the greatest pleasures of my professional life is the giddy sense of accomplishment I experience after teaching a class that really sings.”

Dr. Brian Wispelwey
of the Medical School specializes in infectious diseases and sees teaching as a passionate quest and learning as a humbling human activity. “A willingness to adapt to change and comfort with the unpredictable will therefore always be necessary components of good teaching,” he said.

Winners of the All-University Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards are:

Phillip Haberkern, Department of History
Jane Mendle, Department of Psychology
Elizabeth Pettinaroli, Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
Rebecca Schmitz, Department of Mathematics

The winner of the Resident Teaching Award is:

Dr. Tae Chong, Surgery

The All-University Teaching Fellows are:

Edward Botchwey, biomedical engineering and orthopedic surgery
Benton Calhoun, electrical and computer engineering
Douglas Fordham, art history
Alison Levine, French
Amori Mikami, psychology
Victoria Olwell, English
Xiaochao Zheng, nuclear physics