ince 1990, Richard F. Hamm has been a professor of history with specialties in American law and public policy. An exceptional teacher at the undergraduate level and an active contributor to the Department of History's relatively new doctoral program, he has distinguished himself as an energetic, popular, and effective instructor who has reinvigorated traditional history offerings and introduced attractive new courses.
With a teaching load that comprises general education, writing intensive, large introductory and upper division courses, as well as gradate level offerings, Hamm has demonstrated the enviable talent of getting his students to see the importance of their subjects and the seriousness of the scholarly enterprise. In his specialties of American law and public policy, he always agrees to requests to supervise Assembly or Senate interns, as well as students interning in local law firms.
Whenever appropriate, Hamm couches historical data and interpretations in narrative and biographical form to generate a greater sense of educational exploration and discovery. He has a special facility for knowing his students by name and, through dynamic presentation and retelling of historical moments, accomplishes the seemingly impossible task of creating an intimate atmosphere even in a lecture center course with a hundred or more undergraduates. Always, however, he uses these stories to make larger, more conceptual points.
A well-rounded scholar, Hamm has presented six papers at historical meetings since 1991, and in that time published nine articles and chapters, five book reviews and a book on the 18th Amendment that was awarded the 1996 Henry Adams Prize from the Society for History in the Federal Government.
Hamm is above all, a passionate and knowledgeable teacher who challenges, inspires, and mentors students while infecting them with lasting enthusiasm for the subject.
The 1998 Excellence Awards
University at Albany
State University of New York