By: Nick Santangelo

The College of Liberal Arts (CLA) is extremely proud of how our entire community came together to create amazing learning and research environments this academic year despite the circumstances. Last week, we recognized some of our best and brightest undergrad and graduate students from the Class of 2020. This week, we’re recognizing some of our professors who went above and beyond in educating our students.

As with nearly everything else in 2020, CLA’s Teaching Awards took on a different format this year than in past years. But the mood was no less exuberant as faculty members gathered together on a Zoom call yesterday to celebrate each other’s achievements.

“It's really, really wonderful to take the opportunity to congratulate all of our Teaching Award winners and welcome you into the circle of winners and give you, I hope, several rounds of applause,” said Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Rebecca Alpert in opening the virtual ceremony.

Continuing, Dr. Alpert noted that there was an incredible field of candidates this year, making the job difficult for the committee to choose winners, but they rose to the occasion. To that end, Dr. Alpert then handed things over to Political Science Associate Professor and Teaching Awards Committee Chair K. Orfeo Fioretos.

“This was probably one of the toughest committee assignments that I have had,” said Dr. Fioretos, “we simply have an extraordinary number of outstanding teachers and working with this committee I was very fortunate to have some awesome colleagues that helped me.”

Dr. Fioretos added that reviewing the amazing work of the winners was a reminder to him of how much hard work it takes to become an extraordinary educator. His committee reviewed how each nominee performed as lecturers and as mentors and how our students responded to their approaches. After thanking the college for conferring these awards to recognize his colleagues, Dr. Fioretos proceeded to name the winners.

  • Deborah Bangasser, Psychology, Presidential Faculty Award
  • Mansi Shah, Neuroscience, Instructional Faculty Award
  • Sheryl Sawin, Intellectual Heritage, Eleanor Hofkin Award
  • Arthur Krieger, Philosophy, Graduate Student Instructor of Record Award
  • Ewa Protasiuk, Sociology, Graduate Student Teaching Assistant Award

“I feel so, so honored to receive this award, especially practically at the beginning of my teaching career, and I am so thankful and feel so lucky to have worked with faculty who have been really, really supportive of my growth as an educator from the start,” said Protasiuk.

“Thank you so much,” said Krieger. “This is the biggest honor I've ever received in my life. And it's a huge affirmation of my sentiments and my care for my students and the time that I put into teaching, and I'm just really grateful to the committee.”

“Thank you, everybody,” said Dr.  Sawin. “You know I am incredibly humbled to have received this honor and acknowledgment. The credit goes to my colleagues and Intellectual Heritage. We have rock stars here, and I am privileged to sit in on my peers’ classes and collaborate with them.”

“Thank you very much,” said Dr. Shah. “I'm from this area. I grew up here, so it's been really great to come back to Temple and hopefully stay here for a nice long while.”

“Thank you. Thank you,” said Dr. Bangasser. “That was very kind, and I'm very honored. One of my favorite parts of my job is teaching students. So, it's really a joy.”

Lastly, Dr. Fioretos and Dr. Alpert took a few moments to recognize a couple of previous Teaching Award winners, Ralph Young and Dustin Kidd who were present on the Zoom call in acknowledgement of their winning the university’s Great Teacher and Lindback Awards this year.

“Both Dr. Kidd and Dr. Young,” said Dr. Alpert, “they are like the rest of you—exemplary teachers who do fabulous things in the classroom.”

In closing out the ceremony, Dean Richard Deeg expressed how pleased he was that the college was still able to hold the ceremony despite present circumstances.

“You made a difference for our students,” remarked Dean Deeg. “And I think, you know, as you get later in a career, you begin to recognize the real intrinsic value and reward that comes from working with students and knowing that that is your legacy as faculty and also graduate students.

“So, I want to congratulate all of you and thank you for your service and look forward to seeing you on campus soon and in and out of the classroom.”

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