English Faculty Represent at the A&S Awards

English professors Janine Utell and Daniel Robinson have been recognized for excellence by the College of Arts and Sciences. At last week’s faculty meeting, Dean Matthew Poslusny presented the annual A&S award for excellence in teaching to Professor Utell for “contributing meaningfully to higher education as an academic citizen, both at Widener and beyond.” The teaching award is presented each year at the January meeting in recognition of a single faculty member in the college who demonstrates excellence in the classroom. From among many glowing student evaluations, Dean Poslusny cited one student, a senior, who described Professor Utell’s class as “the best class ever” and who reported having a “brain on fire” as the result of Professor Utell’s instruction.

This year the January meeting featured a new award. For the first time, Dean Poslusny presented awards to faculty from each of the three divisions, Humanities, Social Science, and Science, in recognition of outstanding research and scholarly achievement. Representing the Humanities Division, Professor Robinson received the inaugural Outstanding Researcher Award for being, in Dean Poslusny’s words, “a tremendously productive scholar with an international reputation.” The dean cited specifically Professor Robinson’s work on the poets Mary Robinson and William Wordsworth. Humanities Associate Dean Mark Graybill, also a member of the English faculty, joined the dean in presenting the award to Professor Robinson.

clerk1The inaugural group of award recipients for outstanding research also includes psychology professor Ross Steinman, who won the researcher award for the Social Science Division, and biology professor David Coughlin, who won the award for the Science Division. These awards represent the college’s commitment to the “teacher-scholar” model in higher education. Such a notion is as ancient as studia humanitatis: as Chaucer writes of the Oxford clerk, a medieval grad student, “gladly would he learn and gladly teach.”