Twelve professors received awards from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences this year.
Each year, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences recognizes exemplary members of the faculty for their contributions as scholars, teachers, and mentors. In 2018, 12 professors from across the arts and sciences disciplines received these awards.
“The scholar-teachers honored this year represent the ideal of the liberal arts,” says Dean of the Faculty Elizabeth Smith. “Their dedication to their students and to their academic fields models Dartmouth’s highest values. I’m proud to call them my colleagues.”
The Jerome Goldstein Award for Distinguished Teaching was selected by the vote of members of the graduating class of 2018. The other awardees were selected by the deans of their divisions.
The awardees talk with Dartmouth News about their work:
I do Native American history. One way or another, all the books I’ve written explore how Native American people, power, and experiences shaped the course of American history. History is the stories we tell, or tell ourselves, about the past. U.S. history for a long time has excluded Native Americans, so teaching classes that focus on Native America pushes students to think differently and more deeply about the nation’s history. I’ve spent most of my life working on Native American history because ultimately it means rethinking the history of this continent. There’s no better place to do it than a college with its own Indian history, with an ongoing commitment to Native education and Native American studies, and with Native students in all my classes.
I’m an archaeologist. My research aims to reconstruct long-term, regional-scale histories of settlement, agriculture, and environmental change in the Middle East and elsewhere. I love archaeology because it offers such a unique perspective on the human past, revealing otherwise unknown historical events and cultural processes. I’m also excited about new opportunities for discovery made possible through a suite of emerging remote sensing technologies, and my Spatial Archaeometry Lab collaborates on projects around the world where we experiment with new methods. While archaeology has popular appeal, few students come to my classes knowing what it can teach us or how much there is to discover, so I really enjoy engaging students in hands-on research, whether it is examining artifacts, using technologies, or exploring archaeological sites. As a native of New Hampshire, I feel especially lucky to be at Dartmouth and to share my work with such an incredible group of young people.
At the moment, I’m researching how people cling to musical tastes, abilities, and affinities as fallacious measures of ethical humanity. Neither cherishing Brahms nor being a world-class virtuoso automatically renders you a good human being, right? It sounds so obvious—yet, I think, it doesn’t always feel so obvious. Fantasies of artistry-as-morality are seductive, and perhaps we’re often more vulnerable to these seductions than we’d like to admit. My teaching philosophy springs from this uneasy yet productive conundrum. I invite students to love music with every atom of their being, while reminding them that this love—like any love—can heal or hurt, can be romanticized or weaponized. To be clear, I’ve learned a great deal from my students at Dartmouth in turn: They are avid readers, risk takers, compassionate listeners. And given that I taught my first course here (a freshman writing seminar, “Video Game Music”) in winter 2015, I recently had the privilege of watching the ’18s from that class walk across the commencement stage. With gratitude, I dedicate this award to the students I’ve taught and mentored so far at Dartmouth.
Mathematical research is similar to solving puzzles, with the added excitement that nobody knows the solution, and that finding it sometimes gives a better understanding of related problems in other disciplines. It can be frustrating at times, when promising ideas lead to dead ends, but that makes the satisfaction of solving an open problem even greater. My main field of research is enumerative combinatorics, an area of mathematics that studies properties of discrete structures and counts in how many ways they can be formed. Combinatorial questions appear throughout mathematics, and also arise in other disciplines, such as computer science, biology, and physics. This summer, I organized two week-long international conferences in combinatorics at Dartmouth, bringing together more than 300 participants from 30 countries. The financial and administrative support from Dartmouth was essential to the success of the conferences. In addition to the institutional support for faculty, I enjoy the balance of research and teaching at Dartmouth, and the friendly collegial atmosphere here. I enjoy mentoring research, both at the undergraduate and graduate level, and I love teaching smart and motivated Dartmouth students who are eager to learn. Seeing their reaction when they make new connections reminds me of the enjoyment I had when I learned the same concepts for the first time.
I am a specialist in the circulation, reception, and politics of French picture-making during a historical moment that witnessed the emergence of new technologies of visual reproduction, a constantly shifting relationship between art and politics, and the expansion of audiences for art. I probe areas of the late-18th and early 19th centuries that reveal a great deal more about visual culture than previous scholars in the field have recognized. This has allowed me to ask questions about the broader visual economy of the period, especially in terms of the interactions between “new,” industrial forms of image making and more illustrious and traditional practices.
When I arrived at Dartmouth 43 years ago, I never thought I’d stay beyond a couple of years: The place was too cold in the winter, it was not close enough to a big city, and the “art museum” (a few small rooms in Carpenter Hall) was unimpressive. But the College had a first-class library, smart students, and a commitment to supporting its faculty as teachers and scholars. I got hooked, and over the last four decades I’ve had the freedom to develop my interests as an art historian and to share with students my passion for the art of 16th- and 17th-century Europe. I’ve never seen my profession as a job. How could I, when I have the chance to introduce students to the creations of such people as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Velazquez, Rembrandt, Bernini, and Vermeer? It has been a wonderful adventure, and whether in a classroom or at the Hood Museum or during our foreign study program in Italy, it is always a thrill to see my students’ faces as they marvel at a sculpture or painting they never knew before or discover how a work of art can reveal so much about the culture from which it came. Most of all, it has been a privilege to remind students that humans can produce extraordinarily interesting, beautiful, or deeply moving things and that in art, as in many other endeavors in this life, thoughtfulness and the achievement of excellence are noble goals.
I am a scholar of U.S. foreign relations, focusing on interactions between the United States and Northeast Asia. My first book, Cold War Democracy: The United States and Japan (forthcoming from Harvard University Press), examines how the postwar U.S.-Japanese relationship changed both American and Japanese understanding of democracy. I am currently starting a new project that will examine the economic rise of Northeast Asia and changing American attitudes about globalization, growth, and economic competition from the 1970s to the present. I teach courses on the history of U.S. foreign relations, World War II in the Pacific, and the Cold War. I try to give students not only historical knowledge and awareness, but also the tools to carefully evaluate evidence and arguments, to look beyond obvious answers, and to reflect fairly and seriously on the legacies of U.S. foreign policy for the contemporary world. I love teaching at Dartmouth because of the interaction between teaching and research. The questions that students ask have fundamentally changed how I approach my own work. For example, I rethought and reworked the main arguments of my book through teaching my class on the early Cold War. I decided that I wanted to become a professional historian after looking at my own professors in college and thinking that there could not be a better job than getting to talk and think about history every day. My experiences with Dartmouth students have more than fulfilled these expectations.
As the world becomes smaller, our classrooms expand. One of the main goals of a liberal arts education is to prepare our undergraduates to welcome the various challenges they will face in our ever-shrinking world, inhabited by racially, culturally, linguistically different peoples. Dartmouth’s annual Summer Beijing Foreign Study Program (FSP) and Fall Beijing Language Study Abroad (LSA) have always taken to heart this mission of educating our students for 12 weeks in a pure immersion environment, in a foreign country, in alignment with Dartmouth’s ideals and vision. Having served 17 times over the past three and a half decades as our China FSP and LSA+ director, a major aspect of my Dartmouth career has revolved around the two off-campus programs. China and my students have inspired me and largely shaped my teaching and my research—in terms of both approach and subject matter. It is gratifying to hear a former student say that the China FSP/LSA opened up both the eyes and the mind—marking a pivotal point in the student’s life. An equally powerful remark made by many of my students from the FSP or LSA is, “The China experience has made me understand and appreciate my own culture and tradition.” Globalization and internationalism are not just something that we teach our students; rather, Dartmouth’s students help comprise the force that drives both processes. It has been a humbling and exhilarating task to lead and support these young people.
My research focuses on understanding human-caused climate change and air pollution. My students and I collect ice cores from polar glaciers that provide a picture of the Earth’s climate and air quality before the industrial revolution, and how it differs today. I’m particularly focused on intensifying storms and the melting of polar glaciers because these symptoms of climate change have some of the greatest impacts on global communities. Dartmouth’s growing strength in these research areas provides unique opportunities to collaborate on projects that are beyond the capabilities of any one researcher. In the classroom, I strive to let my enthusiasm for science, the Earth, and the environment guide my teaching. It’s amazing to work with such bright and engaged students every day. My favorite moments are when a student tells me, “I took this class for a distributive requirement—I never thought I would love Earth science!” My hope is that our students leave Hanover with a better understanding of the importance and fragility of the natural world and become responsible stewards as they seek to make their mark.
Over a 30-year career teaching in psychological and brain sciences, I have been the appreciative recipient of a tremendous amount of advice from colleagues and students regarding teaching, instruction, and the learning process. I am humbled by the generosity and patience of those who offered insight and encouragement. This award is as much a testament to those who took the time to help me learn the craft of teaching as it is to any innate ability to communicate on my part. I believe good teachers are good storytellers, and I would like that to be said of me. Whether it be a seminar discussion about how people could believe in ESP, ghosts, or alien abduction or a statistics class in which a particular analysis was elegant and exciting, there is always a story to be told. Yet good storytellers should, ironically, be good at listening, and I would like that to be said of me as well. I have stayed at Dartmouth all of these years because of the lovely stories told to me by colleagues and students. Even now, as I research weird and unusual ideas to bring to my class or help the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Research decipher survey results, I try to ask, “Why do they believe this?” and “How can asking another question help me better understand what is being said?” If I’m lucky, I will have another story to tell a future class.
My current research interest revolves around the historical and contemporary implications of race and violence in the African American community, drawing on Judeo/Christian narratives as depicted visually in Medieval and early Renaissance Italian painting. I am passionate about my artistic practice because it allows me additional ways of existing in the world. I enjoy teaching simply because I am exposed to the endlessly diverse minds of students. All students are unique and have something to teach. Dartmouth is exceptional because of its students, faculty, staff, and geographic location.
Mobile computing is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. Today we have smartphones and smart watches; in the future, we will see computing units increasingly miniaturized and embedded into the fabric of our everyday life, revolutionizing how we interact and communicate with the environment. I am particularly fascinated by the potential of light as a medium to empower such a vision. Its wide and free bandwidth allows it to potentially deliver data rates unparalleled by conventional wireless radio technologies; its ubiquity and inherent physical properties make it a powerful sensing medium. I am passionate about its variety of applications and intersections with other areas or disciplines. I see my role in teaching and mentoring students as someone who opens the door for them to an area, shows them the wonders, excites them, and then guides them through their self-driven exploration in the area. Motivation and passion are the best teacher, so I strive to motivate students by exposing them to the latest research and influential ideas in the field. I like the collegial, supportive, and tight-knit environment at Dartmouth. I am blessed to have wonderful colleagues here, many of whom are not only great collaborators, but also inspiring mentors and true friends. I am deeply grateful to them.
Hannah Silverstein can be reached at Hannah.Silverstein@dartmouth.edu.