Archambault Teaching Award
“Intent to Apply”
Due by June 1, 2018
August 24, 2018
To learn more about this award and how to nominate yourself or a colleague, see the
How to Apply »
The Reginald D. Archambault Award for Teaching Excellence recognizes, rewards, and promotes excellence in teaching in the Brown University summer programs. The award is named in recognition of Reginald D. Archambault, Professor of Education emeritus, and the inaugural Dean of Summer Studies, 1984 - 1992. Professor Archambault served as Chair of Brown’s Education Department from 1967 through the early eighties, contributing greatly to the M.A.T. program and developing the Brown Summer High School as a teaching laboratory. He remains dedicated to advancing the craft of pedagogy.
Award recipients are selected based on their ability to influence, motivate and inspire students to learn. Our most outstanding instructors employ a variety of creative and innovative inquiry-based teaching activities that challenge the students to reflect deeply and learn effectively. They have clear goals for what they want their students to be able to do upon completion of the course, and they periodically assess whether their students actually understood the material and learned the desired skills. They also create a safe yet challenging environment where students can flourish and where learning is fun and exciting.
2018 Archambault Teaching Award Winners Announced
This year we had another exceptionally strong pool of candidates who brought enthusiasm, professionalism and innovation to their classes, and provoked outstanding reviews from their students. The award recipients are:
Dual Winners in Summer Session:
Doria Charlson (PhD Candidate, 2020, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies)
TAPS 0220: Persuasive Communication
Doria is a skilled, thoughtful and dynamic instructor. She has taught TAPS 0220: Persuasive Communication before and like all good teachers, modified the class by piloting new and engaging content in 2018. Doria’s approach to the course is compelling: she intentionally established her classroom as evolving environment where she consistently sought feedback to ensure that she met the needs of the class. In particular, in 2018, she had mostly high school students and international undergraduates. She was able to adeptly add two new elements to the curriculum that addressed the specific needs of the students. The faculty observer indicated that “Feedback is central to Doria’s pedagogy, the focus on feedback went beyond the course design as she taught all the students the importance of receiving and providing useful and constructive feedback to their peers thereby building extraordinary critical skills.” According to Doria’s personal statement, she used the required readings in the class to incorporate diverse perspectives to “reduce the impact of dynamics that undermine inclusive classroom discussion and participation”. She taught students not only how and why to communicate but furthered their “understanding of the ways in which communication is intertwined with social-cultural, political and economic phenomena”. Through a multi-disciplinary approach with clear goals and objectives for each assignment, Doria was able to scaffold the learning for the students so they could complete the tasks and found that successive work built upon their skills until they were able to identify, articulate and often convince their audience about topics that were important to them. The faculty observer referenced that Doria “committed herself to creating a community of learners who could all participate without fear. Making it possible to discuss sensitive cultural issues as learners rather than as defenders is an extraordinary accomplishment”.
Melissa McGuirl (PhD Candidate, Applied Mathematics)
APMA 0350: Applied Ordinary Differential Equations
Melissa taught APMA 0350: Applied Ordinary Differential Equations where she weaved both theoretical and applied math concepts into an engaging and student-focused curriculum. Melissa had clear and concrete goals that were referenced in multiple ways, through the syllabus, on exams and during problem-based learning sessions. The application materials showed that by thoughtfully crafting how she would teach the math concepts, she created an inclusive classroom environment where students were not afraid to be wrong but instead worked successfully with others in the room to support learning and embrace challenges. Melissa incorporated feedback throughout the class and tailored the class to meet the student interests. The curriculum focused on the content being taught but approached it from a variety of areas that appealed to the students in the room, from analyzing Romeo and Juliet’s love quotient to problems on disease vectors, invasive fish and oil refineries, Melissa kept the content engaging. With an intentional focus on hands-on and real world content, she employed a series of low- and high-stakes assessments and found ways to build student confidence with the material and their own abilities to succeed in the course. Through the use of participation driven non-graded weekly problem sessions with content far beyond that on the exams, she helped build an inclusive environment where students worked together, not for a grade, but inspired to help each other succeed. Melissa’s incredibly strong student reviews speak volumes about what she as an instructor was able to accomplish with her students. Many describe her use of engaging and varied content and thoughtful individual feedback as critical to their success. The faculty reviewer referenced Melissa’s approach as exemplary and she is an exceptional teacher.
Pre-College: Dual Winners [email protected]:
Brigitte Stepanov (PhD Candidate, French Studies)
CEEL0914: Narratives of Revolution and (post)Colonialism: Race, Gender, and Human Rights
Brigitte demonstrated excellence in teaching in her work with high school students in the [email protected] course: Narratives of Revolution and (post)Colonialism: Race, Gender, and Human Rights. It was evident from first glance that Brigitte not only has a strong passion and love of teaching but is committed to sharing that passion and enthusiasm with her students. As referenced in her personal narrative, Brigitte’s teaching philosophy “centers on inclusivity, open and facilitated discussion, and advancing student curiosity”. Brigitte referenced that teaching is an incredibly meaningful experience and she credited this to learning from prior instructors who taught with patience and care. It is evident that Brigitte honors her own craft of teaching with care and respect through her work on reflective teaching with the Sheridan Center and the attention and focus with which she approached this dynamic, sensitive and emotionally challenging topic. Brigitte clearly articulated the goals for the course and students, displaced herself as the central figure in the classroom, scaffolded for success and used a series of multi-modal student-centered techniques to encourage a thorough discourse and understanding of the material. Without Brigitte’s intentional work on creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment, the other techniques and strategies she employed would not have been successful. The faculty observation referenced that “Brigitte excelled in her classroom manner…and although she had excellent “raw material” in her very impressive students, she found many ways to make the class interesting, informative and stimulating” and the student evaluations overwhelmingly referenced how much they enjoyed the conversations with an incredible teacher who provided them with useful information that they will carry through their future academic careers.
Beth Capper (PhD Candidate, 2019, Modern Culture and Media)
CEEL0985: Literature, Culture and American Identities
Beth’s teaching style and ability to engage a class in complex discussions was inspiring in the [email protected] course: Literature, Culture and American Identities. Through a well thought out and designed curriculum she was able to guide and facilitate student learning in a meaningful way. Beth incorporated many diverse perspectives into the course content and was skilled at helping students discover, unpack and understand complex terminology and connections between the literary works and modern life and experiences. As referenced in the personal narrative, Beth had a goal for students to “build skills in intercultural and interpersonal communication that opened new avenues for collective understanding and civic engagement”. She and her students were able to achieve this goal through a multi-layered approach to learning that involved student-centered work with pedagogical content that ranged from blog posts to modern culture and experiences occurring at Brown and historical art and narratives. Beth’s pedagogical approach to “demystify the university and scholarly protocols” engaged students at a different level and allowed “the classroom to be more welcoming for high school students and, in particular, those who will likely be first-generation college students”. Through her intentional focus on creating an inclusive environment, Beth ensured that the complex issues surrounding power and social differences could be discussed in an open and frank manner with all voices, not only the loudest, being recognized and valued. The faculty observer indicated that “Beth has established a supportive atmosphere and a cohesive group, an excellent environment for learning…with students building on each other’s contributions”.
Pre-College: Winner in STEM I and II programs
Kristin Scaplen (Postdoctoral Research Associate, Neuroscience)
CEBN0602: From Brain to Sensation: The Neurobiology of your Five Senses
Kristin is an incredible teacher who has the ability to engage all students and create a community of learning that allows each student to excel. Her STEM I course “Learning and Memory: From Brain to Behavior” exposes middle school students to a complex set of concepts in Neurobiology. Kristin was able to craft a course that would be successful at any level but especially provided support for this group of young learners. She set the tone of the course on the first day with a discussion on inclusion and classroom climate. This open and collaborative conversation allowed her students to recognize the type of educational community they were engaged with and to facilitate an environment where learning could flourish. The course was well designed and through Kristin’s extensive experience with the Sheridan Center, she was extremely thoughtful and reflective in how she designed the course and assessed learning. One of Kristin’s talents is in the way she is able to weave complex and simple student-driven active learning techniques to create a comprehensive learning experience for all involved. Her work and focus on formative and summative feedback allowed her to modify and connect the class for each individual in a way that made the material incredibly tangible and meaningful. The students achieved or exceed the challenging goals Kristin set forth. The faculty evaluation referenced that “Kristin has a natural talent for teaching and she has continually worked over the years to develop this skill. This extensive teaching effort combined with her content knowledge and work as a scientist allows Kristin to create an incredible learning environment that captivates and motivates students entering her class with varying amounts of prior knowledge and experience.” The student evaluations exemplified the impact she had on each individual, how she sparked their scientific mind and created enthusiasm for continued learning.
Past Award Recipients
Summer Session 1st Place Winner:
Brian Horton for the course, “Sex, Gender, Subversion: Introduction to Queer Anthropology
Brian demonstrated excellence in teaching through his inventive and thought-provoking curriculum that challenged students as they explored both difficult thematic and emotional content. The course - Queer Anthropology - approached the constructions of gender and sexuality via an exploration of practices that run counter to their normative expressions, and in the process approached the methods and theories of anthropology from a similarly "queer" direction, enabling students to acquire a deeper understanding of the foundations of the discipline itself. Central to the course design was the expression of the student voice which was harnessed through a wide range of activities including participation, presentations, reflections, mid-term, papers, weekly "tweets" and "memes". The course content incorporated a unique mix of traditional, scholarly and popular readings and narratives including those that might be dismissed as non-academic but are central to our current debates in popular culture. Brian exemplified the notion of a “natural teacher” as he simultaneously challenged his students while being absolutely dedicated to their individual learning. To ensure that every student found their own success, Brian made time before and after class to work through student emotions and concerns, he continually sought feedback and used this to further shape his facilitation of the course. He created an extremely collaborative learning space, and encouraged all students to think through the material and then engage from a variety of viewpoints. He encouraged sensitivity in class, and asked students to “create a respectful listening and speaking space by waiting for others to finish speaking, acknowledging what others have said, and giving all students access to the discussion space.” This resulted in a very inclusive and diverse classroom culture. Brian’s course and teaching was captured perfectly in this one student comment, “At the end of the class, I asked him how I can find ‘more courses that make my head have that exploding feeling.’ By that I meant this: Professor Horton reached his students on a new level...challenging the norms and ideologies we have been socialized into in a way that completely shapes us and helps us see the world in a different light.”
Pre-College Program 1st Place Winner:
Michelle Rada and Rithika Ramanurthy for the course, “Party Girls: Feminist Fiction Up ‘Till Dawn, 1815 - 2015
Michelle and Rithika exemplified incredible co-teaching in action in their [email protected] course: Party Girls. In reviewing their syllabus and curriculum plan, it is evident that they designed the course as a “live experience” that modeled for students in a performative manner that “thinking works through debate and discourse, rather than lecture and memorization”. Michelle and Rithika had a concrete and overarching goal for the students to “develop critical, precise, inspired close reading skills”. Using the notion of parties, they designed a curriculum that incorporated challenging academic readings juxtaposed with materials readily accessible in modern pop culture. Through the use of the diametrically opposed narratives, the instructors taught the students how “difficult literary and philosophical ideas” can be applied to both academic and non-academic texts enabling these students to build crucial skills essential to their future college-level course work and academic success. Michelle and Rithika emphasized a classroom culture of respect through their focus on inclusive and supportive pedagogy where students participated in, and led a variety of activities including presentations, discussions, group work and in-class collaborative writing. The curriculum was designed in such a way that they set a clear, concise and incredibly detailed path for learning that challenged and supported the students and expanded their own notions of their ability to learn and be successful. As the faculty evaluation indicated “There was a sense of real curiosity in the class but also a feeling of confidence – the feeling that comes when students are discovering new things, and when they are given the support they need to make those new discoveries their own. This only happens when those at the helm of a class have a vision of what they wanted students to learn – and the sensitivity, insight, and intuition to turn this vision into reality”. Michelle and Rithika are to be commended for their exemplary work.
1st prize for Summer Session education: Suzanne Enzerink for “Interraciality in Post-45 Film and Literature"
Suzanne brought her pedagogical experience and incredible passion to the Summer Session course “Remixing Racial Codes: Interraciality in Post-45 Film and Literature”. Suzanne took a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to her course design and challenged students through the assignments, media, and contextual texts and open conversational nature of the course. The syllabus contained a clear statement that helped define the culture of the course and it appears evident that clearly setting the boundaries and expectations led to a productive and thoughtful student experience. In exploring the topics of Interraciality in the US, Suzanne challenged student’s notions of what is “normal” and “acceptable”. Through the use of the class blog, intensive writing assignments, and open and frank discussion, Suzanne provided a safe space for conversation of incredibly important, and challenging, topics. The class instruction allowed opportunities for each student to “find their voice” and as noted in the faculty evaluation, the silence needed to allow time for all to process and share is often a very challenging dynamic for students to experience, albeit incredibly valuable. Overall, it is evident that student-centered learning was central to the course design and implementation. Students referenced multiple times the impact this course had on their understanding of the topics covered and how Suzanne was incredibly thoughtful, sensitive, and supportive in inspiring their writing and dialogue throughout the course.
Dual-Winner 1st prize for Pre-College education: Emily Avera for “Introduction to Cultural Anthropology”
Emily established heteroglossia, the concept of multiple voices being honored and represented, as the primary concept that defined her course curriculum and culture for the course “Introduction to Cultural Anthropology”. It was evident that Emily spent a tremendous amount of time creating the curriculum and learning goals to ensure that each student’s voice would be represented across the course. The course design used multiple modalities to reach students and help them explore the intersections of culture, learning, science, and more through the context of social difference. The depth of the learning goals allowed students to grasp the basic concepts of Anthropology and then contextualize their learning in relation to some of the major issues facing our nation, and world, today. In addition, the students demonstrated that their learning went beyond theoretical through the production of a micro-ethnographic essay incorporating field data, academic literature, and major anthropological concepts. Emily’s faculty evaluation highlighted her abilities as an extraordinary teacher, mentor and advisor and praised the effort and planning that went into such a diversified and engaging course. The student evaluations referenced that they felt this course allowed their voices to be heard. In addition, the instructor showcased incredible passion for teaching and provided detailed and thoughtful feedback on their assignments, including the audio blogs. Emily’s class gave these students a tremendous introduction to Cultural Anthropology and challenged them to think deeply and reflectively about their learning.
Dual-Winner 1st prize for Pre-College education: Arielle Nitenson and Victoria Heimer-McGinn for “The Secret Lives of Animals: A View into their Brains and Behaviors”
Arielle and Victoria exhibited best practices in the design of their course “The Secret Lives of Animals: A View into their Brains and Behaviors”. Their thoughtful process resulted in a curriculum model that allowed for in-depth student learning and challenged the students to move beyond the theoretical into the practical by engaging in research like scientists. The instructors used their background experiences with the Sheridan Center (each earned certificates) to craft a curriculum that could be used as a showcase of best practices for the newly implemented STEM II program. Arielle and Victoria modeled highly effective co-teaching and demonstrated a genuine care and passion about their subject matter as well as student success. There was a clear emphasis put on reviewing, and if needed, improving their teaching as the course progressed. The learning objectives were clearly articulated, and care and attention ensured that the daily lesson plans allowed the students to meet their goals. The class instruction included multi-modal techniques such as combining short lectures with student driven activities and laboratory exercises. Students were provided opportunities to showcase their learning in the presentation of their final projects. The faculty evaluation referenced the depth of the educational goals and the incredible learning environment that the instructors provided for the students through their creative use of new and established pedagogical techniques. The student evaluations highlighted both instructor’s knowledge, passion and commitment to their learning. Overall, Arielle and Victoria created a course that exemplified best practices and resulted in tremendous student outcomes.
Honorable Mention for teaching with distinction in Pre-College education: Kristin Scaplen for “Learning and Memory: From Brain to Behavior”
Kristin is an incredible teacher who has the ability to engage all students and create a community of learning that allows each student to excel. Her course “Learning and Memory: From Brain to Behavior” was well designed and her students exceeded the goals set for them to understand, process, and effectively communicate the scientific advances in the field of learning and memory. Kristin personalized her curriculum where possible as she modified and connected the class for each individual in a way that made the material incredibly tangible and meaningful. The faculty evaluation noted what a tremendous job she had done through the consistent use of scientific questions, experiments, research, and analysis in the design and implementation of her course. The student evaluations exemplified the impact she had on each individual, how she sparked their scientific mind, and created enthusiasm for continued learning. Kristin’s ability to create an engaging, well-designed course that focused on student-driven learning and her incredible talent at connecting with students set her apart as a tremendous educator. Kristin is being recognized with an honorable mention for her work.
Honorable Mention for teaching with distinction in Pre-College education: Erica Jawin for “The Grand Tour: Our Solar System Up Close & Personal”
Erica has a talent for connecting with students and demonstrates her incredible passion about teaching and learning in all she does. In the “The Grand Tour: Our Solar System Up Close & Personal” course, Erica challenged students to learn, explore, and plan and design their own space missions to distant planets. Through a comprehensive curriculum design and multi-modal learning opportunities, Erica created a course that was pedagogically sound, had challenging learning goals, and enhanced student learning. Erica incorporated diverse perspectives into her course and promoted student-centered learning. The faculty evaluation referenced her love of teaching, and her desire to improve as she actively sought, and incorporated, feedback and modified the course in progress to best meet the student’s needs. The student evaluations highlighted the instructor’s ability to clearly explain difficult concepts and the inclusion of hands-on activities helped all students understand the material. Erica’s dedication and commitment to student learning are exemplary and she is being recognized with an honorable mention her work.