Phi Beta Kappa Awards New Teaching Prize
Deborah Hughes Hallett, Senior Preceptor in Mathematics, and Leonard K. Nash, professor of Chemistry, will receive the first Phi Beta Kappa Faculty-wide Teaching Prizes today at the Phi Beta Kappa Literary Exercises.
Established this year by the Harvard and Radcliffe chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, the prize will honor no more than three teachers a year who are "judged to have best demonstrated excellence in teaching and concern for students."
The selection committee--composed of six Faculty members, two teaching fellow, the undergraduate marshals of the two chapters, and the chairman--asked for nominations from all the approximately 80 students in the chapters, from about 20 letters of recommendation and selected the two winners, Margaret M. Culletts '62, the committee's chairman, said yesterday.
At the awards' presentation, David Riesman '31 will read short citations on each winner, composed of quotations about Nash and Hughes Hallett from students' letters of recommendation and from the CUE Guide to Courses, Gullette said.
Many of the letters of recommendation the committee received were "very savvy" about teaching, Gullette said, adding that it seemed natural to the committe to ask students for nominations because "in one aspect, who knows teachers better than students?"
The chapters established the award to "recognize and reward pedagogical excellence in a University where this kind of excellence is esteemed and praised but not often objectively rewarded," the announcement of the prize states. Gullette added that the University has no other teaching award for which all instructors on the Faculty, from teaching fellows to tenured professors, are eligible.
Other awards for teaching include awards restricted to instructors in a certain department of a certain rank, such as the White Award for teaching physics, available only to untenured faculty and teaching fellows, and the Jack M. Stein Teaching Fellow Prize in the German Department.
This year's winners will receive cash prizes of more than $100 each, and the committee hopes to raise an endowment fund for future prizes, Gullette said.
She added that winners will join the selection committes for next year's winners, saying. "As good teachers, they've given a great deal of time and thought to pedagogy." One of this year's winners was on the committee already and had to leave the room for part of the deliberations, she added