2011-2012 Dean's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching

Richard Fogarty (left) and Martin Hildebrand

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching recognizes a CAS faculty members’ varied contributions to teaching - excellence in instruction, innovative approaches in the classroom or online, outstanding work with student performances and other creative endeavors, and promoting student involvement in the community through excellent internship or similar programs. Nominees have completed at least three years of full-time instruction at Albany and have demonstrated exceptional contributions and sustained excellence in teaching and mentoring activity.  This year there were two winners: Richard Fogarty (History) and Martin Hildebrand (Mathematics and Statistics).

Dr. Fogarty completed his PhD at UC Santa Barbara in 2002, and has been a faculty member of the Department of History since 2007. His primary interests are in French and modern European history. His honors include a best first book prize, a National Endowment for the Humanities award, and very recent award from the German Academic Exchange Service to learn German in Germany. He recently completed a book about colonial participation in WWI entitled Race and War in France. His Department Chair indicates that he teaches “an astounding number of different courses … He has yet to repeat a graduate course.” Professor Fogarty’s offerings include a large 100-level course on European Civilization, several upper division courses including an Honors course, and a set of 600-level seminars on topics which include French imperial history, immigration, race and racism, war, society and culture, and Twentieth Century European history. He also engaged with masters and doctoral theses.

Dr. Fogarty is very conscious of the mechanics of teaching at different levels and in different settings. His syllabi and other materials are models of clarity and detail.

Professor Fogarty's lectures are described as "dynamic, engaging, challenging and, and effective.” His enthusiasm for the material is a constant source of motivation. In large classes he comes across as “a compelling lecturer” who possesses a “passion for history and education.” In smaller settings his “relaxed teaching style … encourages thoughtful discussion.” Outside the class, students note note how carefully their work is evaluated, graduate students also clearly welcome the informal theory discussion group he runs for them. One student notes, that he “is a thoughtful and organized advisor” who makes a strong effort to get to know students personally, and displays a genuine interest in students’ academic and personal lives.

Martin Hildebrand, Mathematics and Statistics

Dr. Hildebrand’s completed his PhD at Harvard in 1990 and came to the University at Albany in 1996 after teaching for a time at the University of Texas Austin and the University of Michigan. He also spent a year as a research associate at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications. He has made invited presentations at many other institutions. His main research interests are in probability and combinatorics.

Professor Hildebrand regularly offers a tremendous range of courses, covering calculus, basic probability theory, discrete mathematics, real analysis, topology, stochastic processes, on my count around 30 distinct taught courses , and many independent study and research projects. These offerings range from the 100- to the 800-level. He is heavily involved in graduate education and is very active on PhD committees both as member and supervisor.

The department chair indicates that Dr. Hildebrand “has consistently been one of the top teachers in the Department ... since he joined us.” His courses fill up rapidly, with waiting lists. He is “loved by students.”

Beyond his regular teaching responsibilities he served for several years as Undergraduate Advisement Director for the department. Dr. Hildebrand also advises Math Club, coaches students for a prestigious national intercollegiate math competition and produces holiday puzzles which attract a good deal of attention.

It is abundantly clear from the evaluations and testimonials received that he is exceptionally successful in the practice of teaching. His objective student evaluations are outstanding and the extensive narrative comments from students are overwhelmingly positive. He always has “helpful suggestions and encouragement.” He is patient, funny, and takes care to learn every student’s name. His teaching is described as thoughtful, humorous, challenging, interesting, caring, helpful, and he is described as “a very skilled professor,” “the best teacher I have encountered here,” “the most intellectual and challenging professor I have ever had.”

The most qualified people to judge his performance are his colleagues. One of his distinguished colleagues believes that he “has the rare gift of being able to challenge the most outstanding students, while at the same time engaging and motivating students with less mathematical ability.” Another colleague indicated that “his dedication is unmatched” and he is a “magnificent teacher.”