Archambault Teaching Award
“Intent to Apply”
Due by June 1, 2017
August 25, 2017
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.
2017 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:
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 Summer@Brown 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.
Past Award Recipients
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.
1st prize for Summer Session education: Virginia-Eirini Kilikian and Maria-Veroncia Ciocanel for “Methods of Applied Math II”
Eirini and Veronica should be commended for their work and efforts in teaching APMA 0340 in the Summer Session 2015. Eirini and Veronica designed and implemented an incredibly detailed and comprehensive curriculum plan focused on student-centered learning. Eirini and Veronica utilized a novel approach in teaching this course and it was evident, through student evaluations, that their efforts were highly successful. The instructors articulated and incorporated three overarching goals for the students that allowed them to learn the skills associated with solving mathematical equations as well as apply the tools to complex models and place their learning in the context of real-world applications. The course focused on student-centered learning and encouraged student feedback which was immediately incorporated by the instructors in their efforts to continually enhance the course. The curriculum was creative and exciting, employed real world models and applications as applicable, encouraged successful group participation and active learning and provided an incredible experience for the students.
1st prize for Pre-College education: Wanda Henry and Adam (Sam) Boss for “Evil: the History of an Idea”
Wanda and Sam modeled highly effective co-teaching and demonstrated a genuine care and passion about their subject matter as well as student success. The instructors clearly articulated learning and skill goals for each day of class which provided the students with concrete objectives for the course as well as larger skills that will provide them with a foundation for success in college. The course design incorporated multi-modal techniques including combining short lectures with student driven analytical assessment of primary sources, review of multiple types of media (podcasts, articles, artwork, text and more) and discussions. Students were provided opportunities to showcase their learning in structured and supportive conversations, role-playing, experiments and activities that developed the skills for writing successful analytical essays. The instructors encouraged the students to learn from each other and incorporated peer-editing, allowing students to receive direct feedback to improve their writing as well as honing their own editorial skills. Through a written mid-course evaluation and honest discussion with students about the course, the instructors were able to tailor their instruction to the specific needs and learning goals of the students in the course. Wanda and Sam exemplify innovative co- teaching focused on student-centered learning.
Honorable Mention for teaching with distinction in Pre-College online education: Rachel Gostenhofer for “Disruptive Thinkers, Ideological Conflict and Social Revolution”
Rachel is an effective and seasoned instructor and this course was another example of Rachel’s dedication to her craft and student learning. Rachel took the time to create a dynamic and rewarding course that included academic content that promoted critical thinking and provided students with three major skills that are integral for successful writing at a university level. The skills focused on thesis statements and analytical argumentation; introductory paragraphs and finally responsible and critical engagement with evidence. In addition, Rachel incorporated an incredible level of personal mentorship and focused feedback that was dedicated to improving each student’s personal writing. The amount of time, effort and passion Rachael used in creating and implementing the course was evident in her comprehensive design and incorporation of new technologies. Rachel’s teaching can be viewed as a model for other instructors looking to be successful in the online arena. Rachel exemplifies best practices in action and is a winner with distinction for her tremendous work in this course.
Honorable Mention for teaching with distinction in Pre-College education for the Leadership Institute: Xuan Zhao for “Leading with Empathy in the 21st Century”
Xuan used her unique experiences and background to design and implement an incredible class for the students. Xuan encouraged the students to creatively and systematically think about the topics of leadership and empathy. Her efforts resulted in a course that pushed students to think beyond themselves, learn what it means to be empathetic, how this is coupled with effective and valuable leadership and visualize themselves on the path to being leaders in their local community, region and indeed, one day, the world. Xuan used imaginative interdisciplinary teaching methods that seamlessly integrated the leadership curriculum and course content. Her students gained tremendous insight into the topic and their place in the world. Xuan is a winner with distinction for her dedication and commitment to student learning. Xuan showed remarkable talent in her first year teaching and will likely continue to excel in the craft.