Alma College’s top awards for faculty excellence recognize superior teaching in the areas of environmental health, physics, relational communication and library research.
Amanda Harwood and Steuard Jensen are the 2017 recipients of the Andison Awards for Excellence in Teaching, while Joanne Gilbert and Angela Kelleher have received this year’s Barlow Awards for Faculty Excellence.
The Andison Awards for Excellence in Teaching
The Andison Awards, supported by a gift from trustee Thomas Andison, recognizes excellence in teaching through pedagogical innovation, creative activities with students, and superior teaching. Faculty members nominate their colleagues for the award, and the president selects the recipients, who each receive a $1,000 cash grant to support their scholarship.
Harwood, assistant professor of biology and environmental studies, has taught at Alma since 2015. She was nominated for successfully incorporating innovative teaching methods in her classes, mentoring student research and publishing her own papers at a successful rate.
“Amanda pursues every opportunity to make her classes an environment for learning,” wrote her nominator. “I had the opportunity to watch some of Dr. Harwood’s classes and marveled at how she was able to blend various teaching strategies. She also has reached out across campus to increase interdisciplinary teaching.”
Harwood teaches courses in environmental health and toxicology, global health and risk assessment. Her major research areas are the toxicity and bioavailability of pesticides and legacy pollutants. While most of her work focuses on macroinvertebrates, she also has a strong interest in the role of pollution on public health. She has a Ph.D. in zoology from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
Jensen, associate professor of physics, joined the Alma faculty in 2009. He was nominated for his ability to help students understand complex topics in physics and for providing inspiration and support for students planning to attend graduate school.
“In addition to typical physics classroom activities, Dr. Jensen utilizes creative projects, demonstrations and assignments designed to help students gain an intuitive understanding of the subject at hand,” wrote a student nominator. “One of my favorite memories is the day we brought musical instruments to class [to study] wave mechanics … and analyze the mechanism by which musical instruments produce sound.”
Jensen teaches courses across the physics curriculum. He also has presented research on string theory at professional conferences and for university colloquiums and the general public. He has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago.
The Barlow Awards for Faculty Excellence
The Barlow Awards, first presented in 1982, recognize faculty members for excellence in teaching, scholarly or creative work, and college and community service. Recipients receive $1,000 cash grants.
Recipients are nominated by faculty, administrators, alumni and student Barlow Trophy nominees and reviewed by the Faculty Personnel and the Barlow Award committees. The president selects the awardees.
Gilbert, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Communication and New Media Studies, was nominated for her teaching effectiveness, scholarship contributions and the “countless hours devoted to administrative work” as department chair and an advocate for students.
“Her many teaching awards … all testify to Joanne’s effectiveness as an outstanding teacher,” wrote her nominator. “However, she has an equally outstanding reputation as a scholar. Her 2004 book Performing Marginality remains a classic in the field of humor studies. She has invested her time and energy not only into her teaching and scholarship, but also in the hard and unglamorous work of administration and advocacy.”
A member of the Alma faculty since 1994, Gilbert teaches courses in relational and intercultural communication, gender and communication, and performing advocacy. Her work on advocacy and the discourse of marginalized voices has appeared in numerous publications. She has a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Texas at Austin.
Kelleher, associate professor and access services librarian, was nominated for her commitments to the Alma College community in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service, including her role as chair of the Women’s Issues Advisory Board.
“An outstanding teacher, Angie has created and teaches approximately 21 information literacy classes annually,” wrote her nominator. “Further, she regularly presents her research at academic meetings and is a terrific academic advisor who spends many quality hours with her advisees. She is a colleague of truly extraordinary character and powers of mind and sensibility.”
A member of the Alma library faculty since 2003, Kelleher oversees the circulation and interlibrary loan departments while providing reference services for students, faculty and community members. She teaches classes in library research and methods of social research and has an academic expertise in information literacy. She has a master’s degree in library science from Wayne State University and a master’s degree in social work from Michigan State University.
The Barlow Awards are made possible by a gift from Joel Barlow, a 1929 graduate of Alma College, to recognize faculty members who have “contributed the most, by their work and example, often at personal sacrifice, to furthering the educational mission of the college.”