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New Teaching Award Winners Introduced October 28

JIL HANIFAN of the Department of English and the HON. ELEANOR STEIN of the Department of Women’s Studies have been named the winners of the 2003 University at Albany Award for Excellence in Teaching by Part-time Faculty. These are new awards given in recognition of outstanding contributions to undergraduate instruction. SUSAN M. HUGHES of the Department of Psychology and RAYMIE WAYNE of the School of Social Welfare, two teaching assistants, are the recipients of the President’s new award for Excellence in Teaching by Teaching Assistants. The four were introduced at the General Faculty Meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 3 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom.

This year's awardees are:

JIL HANIFAN is one of two recipients of the new University at Albany Award for Excellence in Teaching by Part-time Faculty.

Since 1995, Hanifan has been a consultant to the University in the High Schools program of the English department here at UAlbany. She has been a member of the executive board of the Albany chapter of United University Professionals, and co-chair of the Part-time Concerns Committee.

Hanifan has been an active reader and performer in the Albany area arts and poetry scene for two decades. She has been a poet-in-residence in Cambridge, N.Y., and she played an active role in the Hudson Valley Writers Guild. She has served on the editorial boards of several literary magazines, including 13th Moon and Arts and Understanding. She has read locally at such events as “Readings Against the End of the World,” “Poets Action Against AIDS,” and as part of Albany’s First Night. This past year, she was featured in the city’s winter arts walk, “Fire and Ice,” and on the Albany Poetry Syndicate’s Web site, Hanifan’s installation, “hangar round,” is part of the Albany International Airport’s exhibit “Words in Transit,” a group show commissioned by the airport in 2000.

In nominating Hanifan for this award, English department chair Gareth Griffiths said, “... Her student evaluations are consistently excellent and stress not only her skill as a teacher but her boundless enthusiasm for her subject. She is clearly committed to a democratic process of instruction without abrogating the leadership role all good teaching requires.” One student in her popular and challenging course in science fiction wrote, “Classroom activities were amazing! By open discussions, Professor Hanifan made us realize that everybody’s opinion mattered.”

In addition to teaching a variety of courses at the undergraduate level, Hanifan was appointed director of the Writing Center in 2001. In this position she directs a staff of undergraduate and graduate students as they tutor writers from all disciplines at the University. Griffiths said, “Under Hanifan’s directorship, this center is one of the true success stories of the College of Arts & Sciences.”

Hanifan has served as a member of a variety of
committees at both the college and departmental levels. As Griffiths noted, “It is an indication of her standing with her colleagues that when her name is mentioned in regard to such assignments, there is inevitably a
general swell of approval. She brings the same fairness, commitment to democratic principles, and old-fashioned common sense to these assignments that she brings to her teaching.”

JUDGE ELEANOR STEIN, the second recipient of the Award for Excellence in Teaching by Part-time faculty, has taught for the Department of Women’s Studies each spring since 1999. According to her nominator, Department of Women’s Studies Chair Marjorie Pryse, Stein “epitomizes what we all know, namely that on the spectrum of available candidates for part-time instruction, the very best is that person who brings professional knowledge and experience to the classroom and who maintains his or her association with the University through the love of teaching, not as a steppingstone towards, or a fill-in for, full-time employment.”

As an administrative law judge Stein shares with students her experience as well as her broad and deep knowledge of women and the law, including international women’s law.

Stein teaches Women and the Law, which is cross-listed with a political science course. This means she teaches a wide range of students, not only Women’s Studies majors and minors.

“…students have clamored to take her course, and I know that the course has become a centerpiece recommendation of pre-law advising in ASC/US,” Pryse noted, adding, “…she has touched the lives of 180 students in the past five years, including a few graduate students in Women’s Studies who worked with her during 1999-2001.”

Vivien Ng, who preceded Pryse as department chair, reported that Stein “received rave reviews from students.” Pryse added that Stein “demonstrates the ability to motivate students to do their best work in what is, after all, an elective upper-division course that satisfies no General Education requirement.”

In recent evaluations, her students responded that “she always answered our questions and encouraged us to ask questions and interact.” One student wrote, “I would just like to say that Professor Stein is the best professor I’ve ever had. Her wealth of knowledge is wonderful and informative and I feel lucky to have taken her class.”

Despite having a full-time career outside of the University, Stein has become “a beloved ‘honorary’ member of our department,” said Pryse. She has had her students attend the National Women’s History Month lectures, where they contributed knowledgeable questions. “During one such event, she volunteered to join the faculty for dinner with the speaker, which much enlivened the discussion, since the speaker was herself a lawyer and a law professor,” noted Pryse.

SUSAN M. HUGHES is the recipient of the recently created President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching by Teaching Assistants.

A teaching assistant in the Department of Psychology, Hughes is an advanced doctoral student in the biopsychology program. She has taught 18 courses since 2000, including Evolutionary Psychology, Biopsychology, Human Sexuality, Introduction to Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, and Personality Psychology. She has also served as an assistant in six other courses taught by department faculty members.

Her nominator, Gordon G. Gallup, Jr., noted, “Susan is an excellent teacher. She takes her teaching assignments very seriously, and has made a special effort to teach her courses in rigorous and uncompromising ways that represent the very best information the discipline has to offer…”

Hughes recently won the first Award for Outstanding Achievement as a Graduate Lecturer given by the local chapter of Psi Chi, the national honorary society in psychology. “The fact that Susan was chosen by members of Psi Chi to be the first recipient of this award for teaching assistants in psychology is compelling evidence for her teaching effectiveness and teaching skills, particularly as it relates to the impact of her teaching on our brightest and most accomplished students,” Gallup observed.

Hughes has published two senior authored articles in Evolution and Human Behavior, the premier journal in evolutionary psychology. “The first of these papers published a year ago has already attracted national and international attention, and has been featured as required reading in courses and seminars at some of the leading institutions in the country,” noted Gallup. In addition, she has a manuscript under review at Sexualities, Evolution, and Gender, and lists four other papers in various phases of preparation. “As a consequence, Susan is in the unique and enviable position of being able to represent the cutting edge of the discipline to her students based on her own firsthand experience, and this is one of the distinguishing features of undergraduate education in a nationally prominent doctoral institution,” he said.

RAYMIE WAYNE, M.S.W., J.D., a teaching assistant and doctoral student in the School of Social Welfare, has won a President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching by Teaching Assistants. Wayne brings a social work and law background to her students. She has taught at UAlbany for two years, teaching two sections each of RSSW 630, Macro Practice in Social Work, in the M.S.W. program (Fall 2001 and 2002) and RSSW 322, Introduction to Research Methods, in the undergraduate social welfare major in Spring 2002 and 2003. She also taught Introduction to Research Methods (RSSW 660) to master’s students this past summer as an adjunct.

Wayne has made an exceptional effort to help a diverse group of undergraduate majors master research content and perform effectively in Introduction to Research Methods, a core course in the social welfare major. About half the undergraduate social welfare majors are returning students with jobs and families. In addition, about half of these majors apply to the advanced standing graduate M.S.W. program, for which they may receive up to 21 credits for undergraduate social welfare courses that are comparable to first- year M.S.W. courses. In order to receive graduate level credit, they must earn at least a “B” in these undergraduate classes. RSSW 322 can pose a difficulty for students who are reluctant to learn quantitative methodologies.

Wayne “has been extraordinary in her capacity to hold students to high standards while providing the supports necessary to build their competence and confidence in this area of learning,” noted Julie Abramson, director of the B.S. program in social welfare. Wayne provides opportunities for extra credit, extra study sessions, and, creatively uses small group applied learning structures. “Since this is important content for students to develop comfort with so that they can use research methodologies as practitioners, I am particularly grateful that Raymie has been so effective in teaching this course,” Abramson stated.


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