A&S Instructors & Advisers Honored by Students
Professors, teaching assistants, and student advisers at the University of Missouri often receive accolades for their work—from their school or college, from campus administration, or from the university system. Instructors and advisers in the College of Arts and Science consistently say the award that means the most to them is the one from students—the Chalk Awards, presented by the College of Arts and Science Student Council each semester.
The latest round of Chalk Awards honors a professor of statistics, a professor of philosophy, and a graduate teaching assistant in geography. The student council solicits nominations from students for their favorite instructors and advisers, and the council’s executive committee makes the final selections. The student council reviewed a number of nominations, and members had a chance to learn the high regard that students have for their teachers, teaching assistants, and advisers.
Purple Chalk Award
Given to a professor in recognition of his or her excellence as an instructor, the recipient of the spring 2019 Purple Chalk Award is Associate Teaching Professor Suhwon Lee of the Department of Statistics. Lee also serves as director of undergraduate studies for the department. She received her doctorate from the University of Missouri in 2003, and her research interests include categorical data analysis, public health statistics, statistical education, and statistical consulting.
“I am honored and humbled to be a recipient of the Purple Chalk Teaching Award,” Lee says. “Interacting with students has always been a rewarding experience for me. Students have inspired me to improve on my work as a professor and mentor. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their educational journey.”
Green Chalk Award
The Green Chalk Award recognizes excellence in a student teaching assistant, and A&S students selected Brad Hanson, a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Geography, to receive the honor this spring. Hanson says he was introduced to geography at Oregon State University as a community college transfer student during his junior year of undergraduate studies. Following his undergraduate studies, Hanson served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Albert Town, Jamaica. His current studies are focused on place-based education, with the hope of reforming formal education to include more place-based approaches. By intentionally highlighting the local place in education, Hanson says students will be better prepared to tackle the challenges facing humanity.
Hanson says the Green Chalk Award validates his approach.
“Not validation of anything I have accomplished as an instructor, but validation of a cornerstone of how I was taught to approach the role of instructor: students care and they want to learn,” Hanson says. “Receiving this award is evidence that students care so much about their education that they will make time in their busy schedules to express their gratitude. To all the students at MU, whether your title is undergrad, chancellor, president, staff, dean, faculty, grad, director, postdoc, provost—I appreciate you. I have learned from all of you. Respect. Responsibility. Discovery. Excellence. Hear us roar!”
Blue Chalk Award
Many students would have difficulty navigating the rules, regulations, and requirements of campus life without the help of academic advisers. This spring, students in the College of Arts and Science tapped Professor Andrew Melnyk in the Department of Philosophy as their favorite academic adviser. Melnyk earned his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University; his research interests include the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of science, metaphysics, and the philosophy of psychology.
“My work as director of undergraduate studies for MU's philosophy department has involved attending to a large number of small things—advising a student on graduate programs in philosophy, ensuring that two classes that majors might want to take are not scheduled against one another, informing students of opportunities that match their talents and interests, and so forth,” Melnyk says. “But the cumulative effect of these small things makes a big difference to the health of the major program, and it is very gratifying that I have been recognized with the Blue Chalk Award for doing this kind of work. It is especially gratifying that the award comes from the students.”
Each of the winners has been invited to the A&S Student Council Trivia Night in Memorial Union tonight, where they again will be acknowledged for their awards. Congratulations to each of the winners, and thank you for your service to the College of Arts and Science.