UChicago instructors, graduate students awarded Swogger awards and booth awards
The University of Chicago honored nine instructors and graduate students for their outstanding work as teachers. Nominated by undergraduate students of the College, these awardees have demonstrated their ability to inspire students to think beyond the classroom and share their disciplines in exciting ways.
Navneet Bhasin, Rachel DeWoskin, Jessica Kirzane and Lucas Pinheiro received the Glenn and Claire Swogger Award for Exemplary Classroom Teaching, which recognizes outstanding teachers with college nominations that introduce students to habits of scholarly thinking, inquiry and learning. engagement in the basic program. General education program of the College.
Silas Busch, Frank Gao, Sandra Park and Gregory Valdespino and Germán Villegas-Bauer have been named the 2021 laureates of the Wayne C. Booth Award for Teaching Excellence, awarded annually to graduate students of the University of Chicago for outstanding undergraduate education. The award was established in 1991 in honor of Booth, PhD’50, a former faculty member at UCHicago who was one of the most influential literary critics of the 20th century.
In addition, UChicago recently awarded 10 faculty members the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award and the Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring.
Learn more about the Swogger Prize and Booth Prize winners below.
Glenn and Claire Swogger Award
Wayne C. Booth Award
Glenn and Claire Swogger Award
Navneet Bhasin, Senior Lecturer, Collegiate Division of Biological Sciences
Since high school, Navneet Bhasin has been interested in how humans contribute to the biological world and are in turn affected by it. After studying microbiology throughout her undergraduate and graduate years, she pursued this interest through applied biological science research at Harvard University and Boston University.
In his biology classes, Bhasin teaches students the methods and skills needed to find biological solutions to challenges in fields ranging from medicine to forensics.
“If you can identify the problems, my classes help you develop the tools to find solutions for them,” Bhasin said. “Thinking outside the box helps stimulate innovation. Finding an interdisciplinary approach is essential in this interconnected world of explosive information. “
Although the switch to distance learning over the past year has reduced access to the traditional lab, it has allowed Bhasin to teach using materials found at home, which she says , was a huge success.
Students in her summer class “Biotechnology for the 21st Century” were instructed to discuss a fermentation process, which increases the shelf life of food and improves digestibility, using ethnic family recipes.
“This adaptation allowed us to design new experimentation procedures that were less technology intensive and used items readily available in the home,” Bhasin said. “Students learn best when they can understand the content and what they are learning has practical application.”
“They tend to learn it easier and it lasts longer because it’s relatable,” she added.
Rachel DeWoskin, Associate Professor of Arts Practice, Department of English Language and Literature
Rachel DeWoskin took a non-traditional path at the University of Chicago. After spending her twenties in China, where she worked as a consultant and actress after graduating from Columbia University with a bachelor’s degree, she returned to the United States to study poetry and translation as a graduate student at the University of Boston.
After completing her masters degree, DeWoskin realized that she was as passionate about prose as she was about poetry and has now written five novels, in addition to a collection of poetry and a dissertation on the years that she went to Beijing. Her background in interdisciplinary writing helps her encourage students to bring “kaleidoscopic” perspectives to the projects they read and create in her classes.
“We explore how projects take their best forms and useful intersections between genders,” she said. “This research into my own work, into what makes fine writing powerful, propulsive and moving, informs my conversations with students about published work, their work, and the world.
As students, DeWoskin’s favorite professors not only taught on the front line of their own research, reflections, and writings, but also asked students why the literature they wrote and read was important.
In her own class, she asks the same questions of the college’s undergraduates.
“I try to help students shape their own questions, in class and in their work, deepening nuances and wonders while polishing their writing until it is as precise and beautiful as possible,” she says. “UChicago students are determined and courageous, ready to think, create and revise (and take the kind of artistic risks) that make books matter.”
Jessica Kirzane, Assistant Teaching Professor, Department of Germanic Studies
Jessica Kirzane didn’t start studying Yiddish until after her freshman year at college – when she was a summer intern at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts – but it didn’t take long for her to become hooked. .
“I fell in love not only with the literature and culture itself, but most of all with the community of academics and activists around it,” said Kirzane, who received his doctorate. from Columbia University. “It was something I wanted to be a part of and make my mark.”
She is now the only Yiddish language teacher at UChicago and teaches all levels of the language, from beginner language courses to advanced literature seminars.
Her particular areas of interest are the representations of race, gender, and region in American Yiddish literature. She also works as a translator with a focus on translating female authors who have written in Yiddish.
Whether teaching in person or virtually, Kirzane works hard to cultivate a warm, confident and open environment where students feel free to positively engage with one another. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she implemented a reading buddy system in her basic classes.
“I wanted to give them a space where they could make a class friend and work through the classroom material without the intimidation or the top-down feeling of the instructor’s presence,” he said. she declared. “The students were on their own and I am very happy that I was able to help them connect with each other.”
Lucas Pinheiro, Lecturer, Collegiate Social Sciences Division
As an undergraduate student, Lucas Pinheiro took a one-year class on the classics of social and political thought, which served as his first introduction to political theory.
Two master’s degrees and a doctorate. in political science later, Pinheiro now teaches a similar course in the social science core of the College: “Classics of Social and Political Thought”.
“While teaching in classical classes, I have been able to impart to my students the value of reading classical texts which are often stimulating and not immediately appealing to everyone in my classes,” said Pinheiro. “My favorite part of teaching in the Core is also the most rewarding: helping intellectually curious students become self-reflective thinkers, clear communicators, and generous collaborators.”
In his courses, Pinheiro strives to provide students with the interpretative and analytical skills necessary to engage not only with complex political concepts, but also with the complex political world.
To this end, it aims to teach students to view disagreement not as a sign of misunderstanding, but as an essential aspect of critical thinking.
“I end the course on the same note as I started: by encouraging students to develop a relationship with reading and learning motivated by curiosity, patience, attention to detail and above all an openness to perspectives that might be at odds with theirs, “he said.