School of Professional Studies
December 7, 2015Brown University

Announcement of 2015 Archambault Awards for Teaching

The School of Professional Studies is proud to announce the winners of the 2015 Reginald D. Archambault Award for Teaching Excellence in the Brown Pre-College Programs and Summer Session. These outstanding teachers are recognized:

• Virginia-Eirini Kilikian and Veronica Ciocanel, who taught Methods of Applied Math II, received First Place for teaching in Summer Session

• Wanda Henry and Sam Boss, who taught Evil: The History of an Idea, received First Place for teaching in a Pre-College Program

• Rachel Gostenhofer, who taught Disruptive Thinkers, Ideological Conflict and Social Revolution, received Honorable Mention for teaching with distinction in a Pre-College online course

• Xuan Zhao, who taught Leading with Empathy in the 21st Century, received Honorable Mention for teaching with distinction in the Pre-College Leadership Institute

The Reginald D. Archambault Award for Teaching Excellence recognizes Brown University graduate students for excellence in teaching. Each year Brown graduate students enhance their professional portfolios and gain valuable teaching experience by designing and delivering courses in Brown’s Pre-College Programs and Summer Session. These programs are among the most well-established and outstanding programs in the country. The annual Archambault Awards highlight the superior quality of teaching and the exceptional experience for students in these programs.

Award recipients are selected for their ability to influence, motivate and inspire students. These instructors use innovative, inquiry-based activities and challenge their students to reflect deeply and to learn effectively. They define goals for what students will to be able to do after completing the course, and create safe and challenging environments where students flourish and learning is exciting.

“The outstanding quality of our instructors makes selecting the Archambault awardees a challenge,” said James Chansky, Director, Summer Session and Pre-College Programs. "By acknowledging their accomplishments as teachers, we intend that they serve as inspiring models of commitment to student learning, and as dedicated teachers from whom we also have much to learn."
These 2015 Archambault Award winners demonstrated their commitment to student-centered learning in these ways:

Eirini Kilikian and Veronica Ciocanel, PhD students in Applied Math, set clear learning objectives for students in Methods of Applied Math II, and fostered an interactive classroom with opportunities for students to teach each other. They focused on skills used in real world applications, and their students reported that this course was an incredible learning experience. Björn Sandstede, Professor and Chair of Applied Mathematics observed, “Eirini and Veronica thought very carefully about their learning goals, designed the course with their goals in mind, and implemented their ideas very well. I was very impressed and believe that Eirini and Veronica were exceptional teachers.”

Wanda Henry and Sam Boss, PhD students in History, demonstrated passion for their subject and exemplified innovative student-centered learning in their course, Evil: The History of an Idea. They helped students develop skills for college success by combining short lectures with students’ assessment of podcasts, articles, artwork, and text. Through discussion, role-playing, and experiments, students developed analytical, writing, and peer-editing skills. Wanda and Henry’s students commented: “The course was overall one the best academic experiences of my life.” “I loved how it covered so many fields – religion, psychology, sociology, history, literature.”

Rachel Gostenhofer, a PhD candidate in History, created a dynamic, rewarding course entitled Disruptive Thinkers, Ideological Conflict and Social Revolution. She promoted critical thinking and helped students develop the skills needed for university-level writing. Rachel provided personalized feedback to help her students improve their writing. The time, effort, and passion that Rachel invested in this course exemplify best practices in online teaching.

Xuan Zhao, PhD candidate in social psychology, taught for the first time this year and pushed students in her Leadership Institute course, Leading with Empathy in the 21st Century, to think beyond themselves, to learn what it means to be empathetic, and to link empathy with leadership in their own lives. Xuan’s imaginative, interdisciplinary teaching methods helped her students gain insight about leadership and their place in the world.

Each year, more than 5500 students select Brown’s Pre-College Programs and Summer Session held on campus and at locations around the world. The School of Professional Studies offers a portfolio of non-credit programs and online courses for pre-college students, and invites qualified pre-baccalaureate students to join undergraduates in courses offered for college credit in Summer Session. For more information, visit brown.edu/academics/pre-college.