Faculty Honored for Teaching and Scholarship


Ten members of the faculty have been recognized with 2010 awards from the Office of the Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The awards honor success in the classroom, scholarly achievement, and one-on-one work with students.

Devin Balkcom, associate professor of computer science The John M. Manley Huntington Award for Newly Tenured Faculty, in recognition of outstanding merit


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Devin Balkcom (photo by Kawakahi Kaeo Amina ’09)

Balkcom’s areas of expertise include fundamental models of robot, animal, and human locomotion and manipulation. He works with students in his lab on the interface between robots and the physical world.

“One of the most rewarding parts of teaching at Dartmouth is how self-motivated students are,” says Balkcom. “They bring their own perspectives and insights, and I learn as much from the students as they do from me. There are always undergraduate students working on projects in my lab through the James O. Freedman Presidential scholarship program, through WISP [the Women in Science Project], for senior theses, or supported by one of the many other research scholarships available. In fact, my first PhD and MS advisees to graduate were both Dartmouth undergrads before continuing into the graduate program.”

Robert Caldwell, professor of physics and astronomy The John M. Manley Huntington Award for Newly Promoted Faculty in recognition of faculty who have been made full professors and have outstanding teaching and research records


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Robert Caldwell (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Caldwell’s research interests include theoretical cosmology, gravitation, and astrophysics, with a particular emphasis on the accelerating expansion of the universe. He is an associate editor of the scientific journal Physical Review Letters, and was recently elected a fellow of the American Physical Society.

“It is gratifying to see my students make progress, learning and developing mastery of new physics,” says Caldwell. “Teaching electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and general relativity allows me to immerse myself in these essential subjects, which helps me address issues in my research on the large-scale properties of the Universe.”

Mary Coffey, associate professor of art history The Karen E. Wetterhahn Memorial Award for Distinguished Creative or Scholarly Achievement, in recognition of the role of scholarship and creative work in undergraduate liberal arts education


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Mary Coffey (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Coffey specializes in the history of modern Mexican visual culture, with an emphasis on Mexican muralism and the politics of exhibition. She also publishes in the fields of American art, Latin American cultural studies, and museum studies.

She has advised many undergraduate honors theses, independent research projects, and research assistants. “I involve students in my courses in extensive research projects on the Orozco mural at Dartmouth,” she adds. “Nichola Tucker ’08 and Mary Cooper ’07 published essays written for my seminar on Muralism in the Collegiate Journal of Art, and this spring students in my “Mexican Muralism” course developed an elaborate, multimedia wiki on Orozco's mural.”

Coffey is currently working on an essay on Dartmouth’s Hovey murals and their relationship to the Orozco murals. She is also co-editing the section on Latin American modernism for an anthology on global modernisms and continues work on a book about the exhibition of Mexican folk art.

Ayo Coly, associate professor of African and African-American studies, and of comparative literature The John M. Manley Huntington Award for Newly Tenured Faculty, in recognition of outstanding merit



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Ayo Coly (courtesy of Ayo Coly)

Coly’s research interests include African literatures and cinema, postcolonial theory, colonial and postcolonial masculinities, and human rights. Her book, The Pull of Postcolonial Nationhood: Gender and Migration in Francophone African Literatures, is due out later this year for publication. She is currently completing the book, Un/Clothing African Womanhood: The Female Body in African Visual Discourses.

“I feel particularly blessed to be able to design courses on topics that are directly tied to my research projects,” says Coly. “Some of the questions I take up in my book and my articles have been enriched by the insights of my students. Bringing my research to the classroom has also allowed me to pass on my love of research to my students.”

Andrew Garrod, former chair and professor emeritus of education The Robert A. Fish 1918 Memorial Prize for outstanding contributions to undergraduate teaching


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Andrew Garrod (photo by Kawakahi Kaeo Amina ’09)

Garrod’s research and teaching interests include adolescence, moral development in a cross-cultural perspective, moral education, and autobiographical narrative. He has written extensively on these themes.

“It is thrilling to teach bright students who are excited by the material and who are reflective about both what they learn and how that learning will affect their development and future contributions to society,” Garrod says.

Garrod continues to direct the Dartmouth Volunteer Teaching Program in the Marshall Islands and conduct a multiyear research program on faith, forgiveness, and morality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is a two-time winner of Dartmouth's Distinguished Teaching Award—one of very few to have this distinction in the history of the prize.

Karen Gocsik, adjunct associate professor of writing and executive director of Dartmouth’s Writing and Rhetoric Program The Dean of the Faculty Teaching Award for Visiting and Adjunct Faculty, in recognition of outstanding contributions to Dartmouth and career distinction


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Karen Gocsik (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Gocsik’s interests include composition theory and practice, writing with media, and creative writing. She has written screenplays, including Because of Mama, which premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. Since 1998, her professional attention has been devoted to developing websites and other technologies that can be used to teach writing in innovative ways. Her sites include: The Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, The Brothers Karamazov, and Writing the Short Film.

“Dartmouth students are wonderful to teach,” says Gocsik. “They aren't content to be passive learners; they prefer to be active and engaged collaborators in the process of discovering and constructing knowledge. I've taught here for 20 years, and I still get up every morning eager to come to class and see what my students will teach me that day. If I'm an excellent teacher, it's because my students are excellent learners. They've made me into the teacher that I've become.”

Chris Jernstedt, professor emeritus of psychological and brain sciences, adjunct professor of community and family medicine, and director emeritus of the Center for Educational Outcomes at Dartmouth The Robert A. Fish 1918 Memorial Prize for outstanding contributions to undergraduate teaching


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Chris Jernstedt (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Jernstedt’s research is in the area of learning as it occurs both in formal classroom settings and in the natural environment. His work is directed toward understanding the breadth of learning, including its cognitive, behavioral, and affective aspects. Jernstedt has received national recognition for his teaching, as well as both of Dartmouth's awards for distinguished teaching. His work has received broad media coverage from outlets including the Discovery Channel Canada, Wired Magazine, and The New York Times.

“Our undergraduates are exceptionally bright, thoughtful, and engaged in their learning,” Jernstedt says. “What an opportunity to be able to work with them for 43 years. The many honors students and undergraduate researchers I have had the privilege of working with have contributed significantly to what we know about the learning process. Their scholarship informs educational practice today in so many ways.”

Jon Kull ’88, associate professor of chemistry The Dean of the Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentoring and Advising, in recognition of outstanding contributions to Dartmouth and career distinction


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Professor Jon Kull ’88 (second from left), with graduate students Elizabeth Clark, Jennifer Taylor, and Matthew Cain (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Professor Kull’s laboratory uses biophysical techniques to study protein structure and function. Together with Professor of Biology Roger Sloboda, Kull has presented a mentoring seminar at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) in the winter term in which he speaks with graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty members about issues surrounding mentoring. For the last two years, Kull has organized the monthly Teaching Science Seminar at DCAL, which is attended by 25 to 30 faculty members who discuss issues related to teaching science.

“One of the main reasons I wanted to come back here to teach and research was because, as an undergraduate, I found it to be amazing in that the faculty were so obviously committed to excellent teaching and mentoring students, as well as doing great research,” says Kull.

Marysa Navarro, the Charles A. and Elfriede A. Collis Professor of History The Elizabeth Howland Hand-Otis Norton Pierce Award for a faculty member who is an outstanding teacher of undergraduates.


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Marysa Navarro (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Navarro joined Dartmouth in 1968 as a specialist in Latin American history. A pioneer in women's history and women's studies and a prolific author, she has been an inspiring teacher and mentor to four decades of Dartmouth students. She was the first female faculty member to be awarded tenure under Dartmouth's current system, and the first woman to serve as an associate dean of the faculty.

“I have been lucky enough to have had many students who have responded to my style of teaching and thus have given me the enormous pleasure of seeing them engaged in a journey of discovery, establishing connections, formulating probing questions that do not result in pedestrian answers, and addressing difficult issues and moral dilemmas with honesty and rigor. I thank them with all my heart.”

Lucas Swaine, associate professor of government The Jerome Goldstein Award for Distinguished Teaching, chosen by a vote of the Class of 2010


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Lucas Swaine (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Swaine’s research interests include political philosophy and the history of political thought. He is currently pursuing a major project on the ideal of personal autonomy and its place in democratic life. He has recently published related articles in Educational Philosophy and Theory, Journal of Islamic Law and Culture, and Philosophy and Social Criticism.

Swaine supervises honors theses in the areas of political theory and public law. He also currently serves as the chair of the Committee on Senior Fellowships, a program that enables Dartmouth seniors to pursue sustained research on a specific topic of their choosing for the entirety of their senior year.

“Dartmouth undergraduates are extremely smart and remarkably capable,” says Swaine. “I always learn a great deal from them in the courses that I teach, and I'm invariably impressed by students' aptitudes and abilities in political philosophy.”

By Elizabeth Kelsey

Office of Communications