Nine Professors Honored With Faculty Awards
January 25, 2016 by Hannah Silverstein, MALS '09
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences recognized nine members of the faculty for their outstanding work as scholars, teachers, and mentors in 2015.
“These colleagues exemplify what we mean when we say Dartmouth faculty are outstanding scholars who love to teach,” says Dean of the Faculty Michael Mastanduno.
The 2015 faculty awardees:
Elisabeth Curtis (Photo by Robert Gill)
Dean of the Faculty Teaching Award for Lecturer
Senior Lecturer in Economics
Curtis has taught in the economics department since 2006. She researches and teaches the economics of transition and current monetary policy. She is working on a project examining how incoming college students’ perceptions of the economy affect the way they learn economics.
On teaching: “At the introductory level, my job is to expose students to the language, tools, and analytical thinking of economics. In upper-level courses, I aim to help students put to use the language, tools, and ways of thinking to discover their own abilities and talents. It’s important for students to learn how to advocate for themselves, and be independent thinkers, but I also try to create a sense of collective responsibility in these upper-level classes to encourage students to work together and support one another.
What she loves about her work: “For me, the classroom is not just the place where I teach, but also the place where I learn. This is the most enjoyable part of teaching—that and the fact that every term there is an opportunity for me to get to know a new group of students who are as enthusiastic about economics as I am (or even more so), to help them learn more about the subject, and also potentially to establish a longer-term advisory relationship.”
Nathaniel Dominy (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)
John M. Manley Huntington Award for Newly Promoted Faculty
Professor of Anthropology
Adjunct Professor of Biology
Dominy is an anthropologist and evolutionary biologist who studies the behavior, ecology, and functional morphology of humans and nonhuman primates.
Research interests: “I am interested in how humans and nonhuman primates discern, acquire, and assimilate food resources. Food is vital to survival and I think it has exerted a strong selective pressure on primate anatomy, behavior, and ecology. So I tend to view the hallmarks and idiosyncrasies of human evolution through the lens of primate foraging ecology.”
On teaching: “My approach to teaching is to emphasize what we don’t know, and how we know what we think we know. Science is a human endeavor and therefore subject to imperfections and biases. It is often messy and unsatisfactory, a point I like to stress in class.”
Why study human evolution? “The human origin story is a great puzzle, and I am passionate about piecing it together as much as I can. And besides, my work entails ‘muddy boots’ travel to viridescent places. What’s not to like about that?”
Bruce Duncan (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)
Robert A. Fish 1918 Memorial Prize
The Dartmouth Professor of German Language Emeritus
Duncan retired as the Dartmouth Professor of German Language in 2015 after 46 years at the College—a career that included a stint as associate dean for the humanities and a two-year tenure as interim director of the Hopkins Center for the Arts, as well as service as chair of the German studies department and on many committees.
Why study German language and literature? “I have always been attracted to the life of the mind, and German culture is a rich source for that. At the same time, a culture and its language are inseparable. My research has had two general focuses that feed off each other: on the one hand, late 18th- and early 19th- century German literature and thought; on the other, language pedagogy. The first includes studies of individual works, authors, and trends within intellectual history; I’ve also done translations. The interest in pedagogy has taken a variety of forms, but makes particular use of the computer. I was lucky enough to come to Dartmouth in the early days of BASIC, when freewheeling experimentation by faculty and students was part of the culture. At the same time, John Rassias was introducing his teaching methods and developing our language programs abroad.”
On teaching: “Teaching is my greatest joy, be it of language or literature, on campus or on our programs in Mainz and Berlin. It’s exciting to help students to discover new ways of encountering the world and to develop ways to articulate those encounters. The energy and openness that they bring to the process are infectious, and they continually furnished me with new insights.”
Udi Greenberg (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)
John M. Manley Huntington Award for Newly Tenured Faculty
Associate Professor of History
Greenberg studies the history of modern European thought and politics. His first book, The Weimar Century: German Émigrés and the Ideological Foundations of the Cold War, published in 2014, explores the reconstruction of Germany after World War II and the emergence of the Cold War Atlantic order. He joined the history department in 2010.
Research interests: “My current research focuses on religious thought and international politics during Europe’s transition from imperialism to decolonization—in particular, on how the demise of European imperialism shaped and was influenced by Europeans’ thinking about religion.”
On teaching: “Working with Dartmouth students is a true pleasure. Their passion for understanding how people from different times and places had such different views of the world than their own is truly inspiring. I’ve been especially impressed by the empathy that students often display; they always claim that foreign ideas are not naïve, evil, or incomprehensible, but the result of very specific experiences and circumstances that we must understand. Their enthusiasm and maturity have been enormously helpful in my own work. They always push me to rethink my own assumptions and to go in new directions.”
Mary Lou Guerinot (Photo by Robert Gill)
Dean of the Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentoring and Advising
Mary Lou Guerinot
Ronald and Deborah Harris Professor in the Sciences
Professor of Biological Sciences
Member, Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program
Guerinot studies the molecular mechanisms of metal ion uptake and its regulation in cells to understand the functional connections between genes, proteins, metabolites, and mineral ions.
Why study micronutrients? “More than half of the world’s population suffers from micronutrient malnutrition. Micronutrient deficiencies commonly limit plant growth and crop yields. If the mechanisms of uptake, distribution, and regulation of micronutrients were clearly understood, it might be feasible to engineer plants better able to grow in soils now considered marginal and to increase crop biomass on soils now in cultivation. Furthermore, as most people rely on plants as their dietary source of micronutrients, plants that serve as better sources of essential nutrients would improve human health.”
On teaching: “An essential part of my job is training the next generation of scientists. My federally funded research program provides opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers to work as a team toward our goal of providing sustainable solutions to micronutrient malnutrition.”
Russell Hughes (Photo by Robert Gill)
Elizabeth Howland Hand-Otis Norton Pierce Award for a Faculty Member Who Is an Outstanding Teacher of Undergraduates
Frank R. Mori Professor Emeritus
Research Professor of Chemistry
Hughes retired as the Frank R. Mori Professor of Chemistry in 2015 after 40 years, but he continues his research in organometallic chemistry. To date, he has published 200 research papers, and is involved in research collaborations at Dartmouth and beyond.
Why chemistry? “When I was young I wanted to be an archaeologist, but my exposure to the exciting detective work of solving chemical problems soon made the latter my passion. That passion is undimmed with age, and I continue to learn new skills to help me understand how molecular systems work. I have been particularly interested in how metal complexes can help break the unusually strong chemical bonds between carbon and fluorine, facilitating low energy conversion of environmentally harmful fluorocarbons into more benign analogues.”
On teaching: “I believe that the real purpose of classroom teaching is for a professor to inspire students, with the ultimate goal of making them independent from the teacher. I have tried my best to do this in occasionally unorthodox but, I hope, memorable ways.”
On (partial) retirement: “It has been a bittersweet experience for me to retire from the teaching component of my career at Dartmouth to devote myself exclusively to research, but I am grateful to the chemistry department and the College for allowing me to continue my individual research program and maintain all my ongoing collaborations both inside and outside Dartmouth. For 40 years I had the privilege of being paid a salary to do something I enjoyed immensely. Imagine that!”
Meredith Kelly (Photo by Robert Gill)
Karen E. Wetterhahn Memorial Award for Distinguished Creative or Scholarly Achievement
Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences
Kelly’s research involves the use of past glacier fluctuations to reconstruct climate conditions on timescales from about 100 to 25,000 years ago. She also examines how ice sheets, such as the Greenland Ice Sheet, responded to past climate conditions, including warm temperatures.
Research interests: “The goal of my research is to improve our understanding of Earth’s climate and the mechanisms that cause climate change. This research is important for assessing the stability of ice sheets in the future.”
Why she loves her work: “Paleoclimate research is exciting because it is inherently interdisciplinary. I enjoy working with scientists in many different fields, including biologists and computer modelers. I also get the opportunity to travel to remote and beautiful locations, from the tropics to the poles, meet new people, and spend a lot of time outdoors.”
Why Dartmouth? “Dartmouth is an amazing place to work—I interact with excellent undergraduate and graduate students in the classroom and doing research, have wonderful colleagues in the Department of Earth Sciences, and have the opportunity to integrate my research and teaching efforts. I have to admit that I also love Hanover because it was once covered by an ice sheet—there is evidence for glaciation (grooves in the bedrock) in my backyard!”
Lawrence Kritzman (Photo by Joseph Mehling)
Jerome Goldstein Award for Distinguished Teaching
John D. Willard Professor of French and Oratory
Professor of French and Comparative Literature
Director of the Institute of European Studies
Kritzman is the recipient of the French Legion of Honor, given by the President of France. Kritzman serves on 10 editorial boards, in fields ranging from literature, history and politics, to critical theory. He has lectured in more than 100 universities in the United States and abroad.
Research interests: “My research covers several fields: Renaissance studies, 20th-century French and European intellectual history and thought, critical theory (especially literature and psychoanalysis), and Jewish studies.”
On teaching: “I am challenged by the intellectual qualities of Dartmouth students and feel very fortunate to work with them. As a professor I seek to transcend and demystify the institutional doxa of the corporate university, where what might be called “learning” can be the equivalent of a trip to the shopping mall. I wish to create new openings in a classroom where multiple subjectivities take shape in a space that resists totalization and celebrates critical thinking that is not one. I regularly teach new interdisciplinary courses, such as ‘Deconstruction and Culture,’ ‘Theater of Ideas,’ ‘Human Rights in France,’ and ‘Necrologies: Death in the French Tradition,’ and ‘Male Friendship.’ ”
Jodie Mack (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)
John M. Manley Huntington Award for Newly Tenured Faculty
Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies
Mack is an experimental animator whose films have screened at a variety of venues, including the Images Festival, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the Rotterdam Film Festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and the New York Film Festival.
On her art: “My animations study domestic and recycled materials to illuminate the elements shared between fine-art abstraction and mass-produced graphic design. Extending a long tradition of abstract animation—a history shared among dance, music, film, and art—I use collage to explore the relationship between graphic cinema and storytelling, and the tension between form and meaning. Creating animated films allows me to engage a wide range of my interests in artwork production, cinematography, sound design, music, and editing while also engaging my passion for the larger trajectory of media’s role balancing fine and popular art forms throughout the 20th century.”
On teaching: “My main goal as an educator is to present moving-image media as abundant territory for the exploration of tools and ideas. By exposing students to a range of aesthetic possibilities, sharing work that contextualizes the history and future of film and video, and encouraging active participation with film culture both on and off campus, I nurture, excite, and inspire each student to explore and refine her personal vision.”