New Award Honors Three Professors for Encouraging Student Scholarship
Three Haverford faculty members have been honored for their efforts in helping to transform students into scholars.
Assistant Professor of Political Science Craig Borowiak, Assistant Professor of Classics Bret Mulligan, and Associate Professor of Biology Iruka Okeke are the 2009 recipients of the Life Cycle of the Student Scholar Award. This award, the first of its kind at Haverford, recognizes professors whose classroom assignments and research opportunities cultivate students’ intellectual growth and prepare them for the rigors of their senior theses.
The award stems from the College’s participation in Mellon 23, a group of 23 liberal arts institutions that receive funding from the Mellon Foundation for collaborative activities. Attendees at this year’s Mellon 23 Assembly were asked to devise a project around the theme of “Faculty-Student Collaboration.” The Haverford contingent—composed of Associate Provost Wendy Sternberg and professors Jenni Punt (biology) and Laura McGrane (English)—came up with “Life Cycle of the Student Scholar,” to highlight the College’s methods of developing students’ research skills early in their academic careers.
To that end, the Haverford group used its Mellon funding to create an award that, says Wendy Sternberg, would “recognize, engage, and inform the faculty about what goes on in our classrooms.”
In Craig Borowiak’s class “Mapping Global Production: Connecting Lives Across the World, Questioning Inequality and Unevenness,” students research the politics, geography, history, and processes surrounding the production and sale of one item from their dorm rooms. They write critical essays relating their findings to the theoretical material studied in class, map the item’s production route, and visually document the production process. With this assignment, students discover how even the most ordinary, everyday objects can connect them politically to strangers around the world.
Bret Mulligan introduces his students to two prominent poets of the first century in “Poetry and Patrons in Flavian Rome.” Focusing on the work of writers Statius and Martial, students explore such issues as the representation of landscape in the poets’ works and aristocratic patronage in early Rome. They also compose two reviews: one a practice review of an academic book, the other a collaborative review (the most recent of which was published in Bryn Mawr Classical Review). By doing so, Mulligan’s students understand how to critically assess the work of other scholars.
Non-science majors get a crash course in the biology of viruses, bacteria and other micro-organisms in Iruka Okeke’s class “Perspectives in Biology: Tropical Infectious Disease.” Each year, students in the class complete a capstone project that allows them to apply their knowledge to a specific problem. In one project, they studied scientists working in developing countries and created poster presentations explaining the scientists’ research. Each student also wrote a biography of an individual scientist, five of which were published in the Journal of Infections in Developing Countries. In the course, students learn not only microbiology, but also skills in writing, presenting, and interpreting scientific papers.