Alma College’s top awards for faculty excellence recognize superior teaching in the areas of English, Spanish, history and religious studies.
Anne Porter and Stephany Slaughter are the 2019 recipients of the Andison Awards for Excellence in Teaching, while Kathryn Blanchard and Daniel Wasserman 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, recognize 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.
Porter, assistant professor of English and director of the Writing Center, was nominated for assisting students in their writing and preparing them for graduate study in composition and rhetoric studies. She has taught at Alma since 2016.
“In her short time here, Anne Porter has reinvigorated our freshman writing program and objectives and has breathed fresh air into our Writing Center,” wrote her nominator. “She acts as a guide and mentor to many students.”
Porter teaches courses in composition, rhetoric and literacy. She has a Ph.D. in English and education from the University of Michigan.
Slaughter, associate professor of Spanish, was nominated for her teaching innovations and engagement with students. She joined the Alma faculty in 2008.
“I observed Dr. Slaughter teaching her Hispanic American theatre course, and she was clearly enthusiastic about and well informed on the subject,” wrote her nominator. “Her students were engaged and ready to jump in. She was well organized, thoughtful and creative working within some heavy limitations. She is an outstanding teacher.”
Slaughter has academic specialties in the Mexican Revolution, immigration and Latin American film, theatre and performance, especially focusing on gender studies. She has a Ph.D. from Ohio State University.
The Barlow Awards for Faculty Excellence
The Barlow Awards, made possible by a gift from Joel Barlow, a 1929 Alma graduate, recognize faculty members for excellence in teaching, scholarly or creative work, and college and community service. Recipients are nominated by faculty, administrators, alumni and student Barlow Trophy nominees. The president selects the awardees, who receive $1,000 cash grants.
Blanchard, professor of religious studies, was nominated for her efforts to foster critical thinking and further the educational mission of the college.
“Kate emphasizes critical thinking as central in her courses,” wrote her nominator. “Her students say her classes are ‘eye-opening,’ ‘challenge people’s beliefs’ and ‘make your really think.’ She also enhances our students’ intellectual experiences outside of the formal classroom, invites distinguished speakers to campus, models life-long learning and has an extensive list of publications.”
A member of the Alma faculty since 2006, Blanchard teaches courses in women, gender and religion; world religions; religion, business and the environment; and African-American religion. Her research focuses on the ways contemporary American Christians integrate their theological understanding and their everyday lives. She has a PhD. in religion from Duke University.
Wasserman, assistant professor of history, was nominated for his strong teaching techniques and scholarly achievement.
“Danny has emerged as an effective and influential teacher,” wrote his nominator. “After years of research, his forthcoming book is scheduled for publication and is sure to garner attention. He also has spoken at conferences and by invitation on several of his research interests. He contributes to several campus committees and works to improve the intellectual lives of his colleagues.”
A member of the Alma faculty since 2013, Wasserman teaches courses in European and world history and has research interests on Spain and the Spanish Empire. He has a Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia.