The Society of Sewanee Scholars held its annual dinner celebrating outstanding teaching at the College on March 3 at Chen Hall. Six teachers were honored for significant contributions to the learning experiences of the Society members who nominated them: Eugenii Donev (Physics), Mindy Farris (Biology), Matthew Irvin (Medieval Studies), Nicole Noffsinger-Frazier (Psychology), John Reishman (English), and Katherine Theyson (Economics).
Farris and Reishman spoke on specific assignments that had yielded remarkable results and had showcased students' initiative and ingenuity. Farris focused on how students wholeheartedly threw themselves into role-playing as protein components of a cell or as members of diverse biological communities, as part of a set of lessons demonstrating that every part must be played at the right time and in the right way for the whole process to work, just as in the cell itself. Reishman reflected on the twin goals of reading closely and writing critically about the best that literature has to offer. He mentioned his optional “journaling assignment,” in which students write a few paragraphs each night about some specific incident of the day. The process of reflection, no less than thinking clearly about what they wanted to write, has yielded excellent results.
Their remarks were followed by a dinner, during which students had a chance to become better acquainted with the faculty members and special guests, Dean John Gatta and Associate Dean Larry Jones. William Engel (English and Humanities) served as the event coordinator on behalf of the student society’s leadership.
The Society of Sewanee Scholars believes Sewanee has outstanding teaching, and so each year seeks to highlight the contributions of teachers from a variety of disciplines who exhibit compassionate and innovative approaches to student learning. This dinner is part of an ongoing effort to generate important conversations between and among students, teachers, and administrators about creative and thoughtful pedagogy.