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Winners of the 2020-21 Outstanding Teaching Awards

It is with great pleasure that we announce the winners of the 2020/21 CSSH Outstanding Teaching Awards:

Outstanding Teaching Award: Tenured/Tenure-track

Risa Kitagawa, Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs
With this award, the college recognizes Risa Kitagawa’s deeply thoughtful engagement around pressing social and cultural issues, from Black Lives Matter to the genocide in Rwanda. Kitagawa integrates her research on the politics of transitional justice to feed student interactions that address human rights abuses. The committee is impressed with her building of a collaborative classroom, which helps students transform from consumers to producers of knowledge. With her careful listening and detailed feedback, Risa empowers her students to meet the high expectations she sets.

Outstanding Teaching Award: Full-time Teaching Professor  

Jacob Stump, Assistant Teaching Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religion. 
With this award, the college recognizes Jacob Stump’s inspired and inspiring teaching. His engaging approach to making philosophy relevant and applicable to everyday life, rejuvenates the curriculum. Teaching at the “pedagogical avant-garde,” he helps students “truly experience ancient philosophy, to become responsible citizens, caring friends, and good human beings.” The committee especially notes that Jacob’s dedication to classroom inclusivity moves well beyond the Socratic dialogue, bringing all students into the practice of philosophy.

Outstanding Teaching Award: Graduate Student 

Cara Messina, Ph.D. Doctoral Candidate, Department of English
With this award, the college recognizes Cara Messina’s emphasis on student empowerment and a strong commitment to justice. The committee applauds how her teaching integrates digital media into professional writing classes that focus on social justice. The committee is also impressed by her leadership in the college and university—including workshops to support online teaching and the integration of new digital tools. As Assistant Director in the Writing Program, Cara has supported both administration and colleagues. Her classroom assignments employ machine learning to explore the ethics of algorithmic fairness and how bias is coded into social media usage data, creating learning opportunities that are relevant now and into the future.

Outstanding Teaching Award: Part-time 

Max White, Part-time Lecturer, Department of English
With this award, the committee recognizes Max White’s student-centered approach that fosters introspection and collaboration, as well as his innovative professional writing assignments. The committee is impressed with his teaching philosophy, which sees writing as a social activity that keeps audience analysis at the center of the process of learning. Students describe him as an “excellent instructor” who made class sessions “fun and informative” and a “very interesting and effective lecturer” whose in-class activities are “thought-provoking” and “taught with conviction.”


We would like to thank the members of the selection committee, the 2019-2020 CSSH Outstanding Teaching Award Winners, for their good work: Candice Delmas (Department of Philosophy and Political Science), Angela Kilby (Department of Economics), Ellen Noonan (Department of English), Edward Krammerer (Department of Political Science), and Justin Haner (Department of Political Science). Many thanks also to our anonymous donors for their generosity in funding the awards.

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