Johns Hopkins Gazette: May 13, 1996

The Alumni Association
Excellence In
Teaching Awards

Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Lawrence Principe, senior lecturer
Department of Chemistry

In last spring's Oraculum, the now defunct Homewood undergraduate survey course guide, editors wrote that "the most influential factor in your [Organic Chemistry class] experience will be your professor." Since his arrival in 1989 in the Department of Chemistry, senior lecturer Larry Principe (pronounced Prince-i-pay) has stepped up to the blackboard and made that experience a positive one for his undergraduates. "Larry has a charisma in teaching that I have rarely seen," noted professor and department chair David Draper.

In a letter sent to Principe during the summer of 1990, a freshman in his class wrote, "You are the first chem teacher I have had who actually makes the material interesting and fun to learn ... I am now considering going into academia instead of being premed. It is so important to have good professors who want their students to learn and enjoy." Student evaluations have also praised him. "He always encouraged questions and never made them seem trivial," wrote one.

Principe brings to the classroom a concise pedagogic philosophy. "It's my job to organize huge amounts of information into a few fundamental principles rather than memorize lots of material," he says. "The only way to get to new material is to capture their imagination and creativity with these few key ideas and then supply the push, and they go a lot further."

Daniel Weiss, assistant professor
History of Art

In his letter nominating Daniel Weiss, department chairman Herbert Kessler commended him for demonstrating "that teaching and scholarship are not mutually exclusive choices but ultimately the same activity." Among his many glowing evaluations, one student wrote, "He really takes an active role in the academic progression and pursuits of his students. His door is always open after class for questions or further discussion."

School of Continuing Studies

Margaret Tocci
Division of Liberal Arts

"Inspiring knowledge" is how one student describes the teaching of Margaret Tocci, in the Division of Liberal Arts. An education consultant for The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington and Richmond College in London, she has developed and taught a variety of drama courses for the division's Master of Drama Studies and Master of Liberal Arts programs since 1992.

"She combines academic rigor with compassion for the complicated lives of adult students," said MLA director Nancy Norris.

Last semester, a student wrote, "Obviously she possesses the magic touch of what makes teaching one of the noblest and most inspiring of professions."

Peter F. Luongo
Division of Education

Since 1989, Luongo has taught in the Counseling and Human Services Department. Students call him one of their most memorable teachers, supportive of both their academic and job search efforts.

Christina Rodriguez
Division of Business and Management

Rodriguez has been praised by students taking her strategic planning and human resources classes for her ability to relate the real world to her course material. She has consistently received outstanding student evaluations in every course she has taught for the division. Besides her classroom skills, students also comment on her availability and willingness to help outside the classroom.

Whiting School of Engineering

William H. Huggins Award
J. Hugh Ellis, professor and chair
Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering

Hugh Ellis asks his students to tackle tough environmental problems rooted in the real world.

Undergraduates in his Civil Engineering Systems Design class have had to figure out how to run a reservoir that can store plenty of drinking water but also leaves enough room to contain storm runoff. They've had to decide how to maximize a timber harvest without destroying critical wildlife habitat. They've had to find the best locations for ambulance stations and power plants, providing efficient service with the least neighborhood disruption.

Ellis says Hopkins students generally rise to the demands of his class. "People have to do a lot of work. They are pushed very hard," he said. "But given appropriate levels of support and guidance, they deliver at a very high level. These people respond very impressively to serious challenges.

"There is a lot of one-on-one contact required," he said.[So] the students make a great amount of progress over the course of the semester."

Ellis, who became department chairman last July, grew up in Canada and completed his undergraduate and graduate work in civil engineering at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. After receiving his doctorate in 1984, he joined the faculty at Hopkins.

Robert B. Pond Sr. Award
Lenore J. Cowen, assistant professor
Department of Mathematical Sciences

"At this level, you don't want to just hear about math, you want to do it," Cowen says. "I really liked the students in my discrete math course last fall, and I guess it was mutual."

Part-time Programs in Engineering and Applied Science Award
Saeed Ghahramani
Applied Mathematics

Students have praised Ghahramani, who joined the part-time faculty in 1983, for his personable classroom demeanor and his excellent instruction skills.

Robert B. Pond Jr., lecturer
Materials Science and Engineering

In their evaluations, students have described Pond as "pretty cool," "incredible" and "the best professor I ever had."

Teaching Assistant Award
Ruohua Zheng, doctoral student
Civil Engineering

Zheng was singled out for her effective manner of communicating with students. A graduate of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Zheng served as a teaching assistant last fall in the course Probability and Statistics for Civil Engineering.

School of Hygiene and Public Health

Golden Apple Award
Moyses Szklo, professor
Department of Epidemiology

Moyses Szklo (pronounced Sklo) is a Hopkins product, of sorts. After completing medical school and internal medicine residency in his native Rio de Janeiro, Szklo earned both his master's and doctorate at the Hopkins School of Public Health, and then joined the faculty in 1974. Since then, he has participated actively in teaching and research in the school's Department of Epidemiology, serving as principal instructor for the Epidemiologic Methods course.

He also has been the academic adviser to numerous doctoral and master's students who successfully completed their epidemiology training. Outside the classroom, Szklo directs the Chronic Disease Program in the Department of Epidemiology, edits the American Journal of Epidemiology and conducts research in a wide range of public health areas, presently focusing on risk factors for clinical and subclinical atherosclerosis.

The Golden Apple Award is presented to one faculty member teaching a class of more than 30 students and one teaching fewer than 30 students who have demonstrated excellence in teaching. Each recipient receives a $1,000 prize from the Alumni Association and a statuette from the Student Assembly, and their names are engraved on a plaque in the student lounge.

Golden Apple Award
Gilbert Burnham, assistant professor
Department of International Health

With the experience of 15 years' work in rural Africa, Burnham teaches courses in refugee health, primary health care and quality assurance management methods. Since joining the faculty in 1991, Burnham has continued his research studies in Uganda, Kenya, Malawi and Zambia.

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