The Fintz Award for Teaching Excellence in the Arts and Humanities
The Fintz Award for Teaching Excellence in the Arts and Humanities recognizes outstanding faculty who, in keeping with the goals of integrative studies, seek to engage students with arts and humanities ways of knowing and to assist them in developing critical thinking and effective communication skills. The Fintz Award is possible thanks to an endowment provided by Professor Ken Waltzer, former director of CISAH, to honor his father. The selection of candidates, final recommendations made by the CISAH Advisory Committee, and awards ceremony take place during the spring semester of each year. IAH faculty may receive the Fintz Awards only once every five years.
2020 Award Recipients
The Fintz Awards Committee is pleased to honor Dr. Garth Sabo, Assistant Professor at the Center for Integrative Studies in the Arts and Humanities, MSU, for his outstanding teaching of IAH 207, “Pouring Rains and Porous Bodies: Anthropocene Entanglements in Climate Fiction,” and IAH 221-C, “I Can’t Live If You Stop: Voices of Resistance in Le Tigre’s ‘Hot Topic’,” both in the Fall of 2019. The awards committee was impressed by the way that Dr. Sabo utilizes a number of innovative pedagogical techniques, including group presentations and activities that depend upon students fulfilling self-assigned roles as “facilitators,” “researchers,” “synthesizers,” and “connectors,” with each students expected to perform at least two different roles over the course of the semester. The awards committee also noted the students’ significant engagement with Dr. Sabo and the materials presented, and, indeed, Dr. Sabo’s pedagogical strengths are evident throughout his student evaluations.
The Fintz Awards Committee is pleased to honor Dr. Nicola Imbracsio, Assistant Director of Assessment for the College of Arts and Letters, for her outstanding teaching of both her Spring IAH 207 2019 course on “The Plague” and her Fall IAH 207 course on “Fairytales”—both of which exhibit a creative yet rigorous course design that succeeded in engaging students. The committee was particularly impressed with the course on “The Plague,” given its prescience. Dr. Imbracsio designed a carefully scaffolded “Survival Game” that guided students through a series of scenarios requiring them to make and reflect on personal ethical decisions, and to collaborate with group members on how to best meet challenges that call upon them to act as good citizens. While holding students to a high standard of thoughtful participation, Dr. Imbracsio also created a safe classroom space where students felt respected and seen, and could find their own voices.
The Fintz Awards Committee is pleased to honor Dr. Marcie Ray, Associate Professor of Musicology. Dr. Ray has constructed her IAH 208 course in such a way that students develop some proficiencies in a historical trajectory of music and multiple identities. Particularly impressive is the intersectional component of the course, which utilizes Western musical history as an avenue to interrogate privilege, class, gender, mental illness, and deafness simultaneously. Dr. Ray writes, “Overall, I teach music history as a means to learn about music and people, avoiding positivist history that celebrates “history for history’s sake” or history as an accumulation of information with little at stake.” Students productively place themselves / are enabled to place themselves and their culture and history in an international and global context. Dr. Ray imbues her instruction with course conversations, self-assessments, self-reflective essays, and listening journals, which induce intellectual and expressive abilities, critical and analytical thinking, and habits of inquiry. The course helps students become actively engaged in learning due to the interactive nature of the course.
The Somers Award for Excellence in Teaching
The Somers Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes graduate teaching assistants who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence, innovation and creativity in undergraduate teaching. Nominees are recommended by faculty and students for their strong ability to promote meaningful student-teacher interaction, as well as in creating a classroom environment that encourages active learning and critical thinking.