Students Recognize Six for 1995 Distinguished Faculty Awards By Lisa Mastny At a time when the university is increasingly sensitive to the tug-of-war between time spent on faculty research and undergraduate teaching, students celebrated outstanding faculty contributions to undergraduate education at an awards banquet at the Johns Hopkins Club on March 16. Six faculty members received 1995 Distinguished Faculty Awards for their excellence in student advising, commitment to undergraduate research and overall dedication to undergraduate education in the schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering. Selection was based on over 80 nominations solicited from the student body and reviewed by an awards committee of 12 undergraduates. Student coordinators Chris Drennan and Tracy Gross selected a committee they thought would represent a great diversity of majors and interests on campus as well as demonstrate student leadership in such areas as athletics, student government and residential life. "All the faculty that received awards were very deserving," said Gross, who has spent the past three months organizing the awards program. "There were names that kept coming up on the nomination forms. We asked around to see if there was student consensus on our choices, and then the committee voted for the most obvious candidates." Stephen Dixon, professor in the Writing Seminars, received the Edward H. Griffin Award for Excellence in Faculty Advising for the School of Arts and Sciences, given to a faculty member who exemplifies the faculty advising system designed by Griffin during his tenure as the first dean of the College Faculty at Johns Hopkins. Dixon was delighted to be recognized for his open-door advising policy. "I didn't even know the award existed," he said. "But students know my door is always open. I will advise not just my own, but any student who comes by. It's nice to be acknowledged by students and not just publishers." Artin Shoukas, professor of biomedical engineering at the School of Medicine, also received the Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Faculty Advising in the School of Engineering. Faculty were also recognized for their outstanding contributions to student research. Maria Zuber, professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, received the David S. Olten Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research in the School of Arts and Sciences for her interdisciplinary approach to undergraduate research and assistance with student computer science projects. "It's surprising to get an award for something you do every day anyway," said Dr. Zuber, who holds the Second Decade Society chair and recently won a Hopkins Oraculum Award for Excellence in Teaching. "I like to work with undergraduates on their research, but it's always nice to get recognized for it." Greg Chirikjian, professor of mechanical engineering, received the Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research for his contributions to undergraduate student research in the School of Engineering. The final two awards recognized overall faculty excellence in undergraduate education, including such areas as research, faculty advising and teaching. Larzer Ziff, chairman of the English Department, and Mark Saltzman, associate professor in Chemical Engineering, received this year's Distinguished Faculty Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. "Here at Hopkins it's very easy to be a teacher because there's a terrific bunch of students," said Dr. Saltzman, who has taught at Hopkins for eight years. "They are very enthusiastic and motivated, and you often have to get out of the way and let them do their own thing." Dr. Saltzman was also especially delighted to see one of his former students, award recipient Greg Chirikjian, honored at the banquet, he said. In addition to the Distinguished Faculty Award presentations, Carol Burke, associate dean for academic affairs, presented the Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award in the School of Arts and Sciences to Gregory Ball for his "tireless enthusiasm, generous encouragement and willingness to recognize undergraduates as a vital part of his research team" in the Department of Psychology. The banquet was the culmination of a weeklong effort by the Student Council, the provost, the Alumni Association and the deans of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Homewood Student Affairs to promote communication between undergraduates and faculty. The 1995 Faculty Appreciation Week began with a special reception sponsored by the provost and the Student Council honoring the faculty of Arts and Sciences and Engineering on March 13, which more than 200 students and 130 faculty and staff attended. "I would say it's been a very successful week," said student coordinator Chris Drennan.
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