Regina Hansen and Davida Pines honored by Dean Linda Wells
September 30, 2011
Sensel and Richter Awards—2010-2011
At the annual faculty and staff wine and cheese party to start the new academic year, Dean Linda Wells asked the chairs introduce new faculty and then announced two teaching and service awards.
I have the honor to confer two very special awards today: the Sensel and Richter Awards. We make these awards at the first faculty meeting in the fall, and then announce them again during Alumni Weekend at the Distinguished Alumni Award Ceremony, which I hope you will all plan to attend on Oct. 28th.
In 2004, we established the Dr. Ismail Seda Sensel Fund, thanks to the work of alumnus Bob Graves in securing the gift, which will ensure that dedicated professors receive the public recognition they deserve for their service and commitment to the college and its students. (past recipients of the Sensel Award: Meg Tyler, Polly Rizova, Gregg Jaeger, Joellen Masters, Kathleen Martin, and Susan Lee). The award carries with it a $1500 prize.
This year the award goes to Regina Hansen from the Division of Rhetoric. Regina had a remarkable year of work in 2010-11 and I ask her to come forward to hear a few remarks and accept this award.
Regina received outstanding teaching evaluations, for her work in Rhetoric 101/102, though this is typical for Regina (a narrow range of numbers on the evaluations from a low of 4.444 to a high of 4.913). It is always interesting to see if student opinions reflect what peers would say about a faculty member, and the student comments square completely with my own sense of Regina approach to teaching and I would bet with yours for those of you who have taught on teams with Regina. She is perceived as a caring, patient teacher who guides her students effectively while at the same time letting them have some room to roam and test their own insights.
Her unique assignment on neighborhoods which impressed her colleagues when she presented it, did not go unnoticed by her students. “I love all the unique assignments, especially the neighborhood journal.” Many found ways to say that they see the world with a keener eye after having worked for a year with Regina on their powers of observation, analysis, and research.
In addition to her extraordinary teaching and service last year, Regina also edited a collection of essays. The collection is entitled Roman Catholicism in Fantastic Film: Essays on Belief, Spectacle, Ritual and Imagery, and includes her own essay, “Mad Drunken Exorcists: The Decline of the Hero Priest.” The collection explores the relationship between Roman Catholicism and the films of the fantastic (fantasy, horror, science fiction, and the supernatural). For her contributions to all that is CGS—teaching, scholarship, and servic, Regina Hansen is richly deserving of the Ismail Sensel Award for 2010-2011.
Alumnus Gary Kraut in 1988 established the Professors Fund, to support the work of faculty. To honor one of his former professors, Peyton Richter, Gary stipulated, that as a part of the Fund, each year one teaching award would be given to an individual whose work exemplified the interdisciplinary concept of the program and whom students acclaimed to be an outstanding teacher. Several of us here today have been named Richter Award winners. The award carries with it a $3500 prize.
This year the Richter Award goes to Davida Pines, also from the Rhetoric Division.
Davida earned tenure and promotion in the Division of Rhetoric in 2007. She has distinguished herself as a teacher, scholar, and colleague during her time at the College. Her students praise her teaching (though some think her standards are too high—I say “buck up, little camper; life is going to present some pretty high hurdles to clear; this is just a training ground”). I digress. Back to praising her teaching—and the substance of their commentary about their learning suggests how much they have developed an interdisciplinary lens, how much they can work from multiple perspectives. One student writes: favorites of the course: Maus, Do the Right Thing, Paolo Freire. A course I would like to take.
Davida is someone whose scholarship feeds her teaching (and I dare say the reverse is no doubt true). Teaching at CGS allows us to move and in fact forces us to move outside our specialty and to become an interested and interesting thinker beyond our own comfort zone. [I often say this is not the right fit if someone wants to mine a seam of knowledge, exploring everything that occurred between 1603 and 1604]. Teaching here requires faculty to be courageous—to take risks, to hazard an opinion outside those opinions we were schooled to hold. Some would say it is a place for dilettantes.
I prefer to think of us as Renaissance men and women. Davida fits the bill. Not only is she able to teach Rhetoric with great effectiveness, with its interdisciplinary curriculum and its complex set of expectations in analysis, argumentation, and research, but also Davida was asked to teach (and did so with great effectiveness) in the Honors College, now the Kilachand Honors College, a course on the graphic novel, her newest area of research.
While Matt Parfitt was on a richly-deserved sabbatical, Davida served last year with great distinction and dedication as the acting chair of Rhetoric, a role that also requires an interdisciplinary reach.
Davida joins a very distinguished group of Richter Award winners at the College of General Studies. Congratulations, Davida.
So congratulations to all, and as I always say, let the wild rumpus continue.