2024 Teaching Award Recipients Chenyu Wang , Kelly Faig and Justin Clark.
Three faculty members were awarded Hamilton’s highest awards for teaching by Dean of Faculty Ngoni Munemo during the May 1 faculty meeting. Forty-seven nominations from students were received for the awards.
Associate Professor of Philosophy Justin Clark received the Samuel and Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching; Assistant Professor of Psychology Kelly Faig was honored with the John R. Hatch Excellence in Teaching Award; and Assistant Professor of Anthropology Chenyu Wang was presented with the Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award.

Award descriptions and a list of previous recipients can be found on the Dean of Faculty website.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
Justin Clark
The Samuel and Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching

A student nominator wrote that when he took Ancient Philosophy, “[Clark’s] infectious passion made me fall in love with Socratic literature, and I have not looked back.” The student noted that he has since taken another class with Clark, convinced the professor to be his philosophy advisor, and last summer conducted Emerson Foundation research with him.

“This year, he has been gracious enough to allow me to delve into further research with him so that we can co-author a paper and publish together, in a bid to aid my applications to graduate school in the coming year,” the student wrote. “It is quite ironic that our research will be on moral exemplars, when he satisfies most of the criteria himself, in my view.”

The student noted, “A class with Professor Clark is seemingly simple: one must make use of no technology and only engage thoroughly with the texts and discussions (a page I am sure he took from the Ancient Greek way of doing things).” The nominator appreciates that Clark “thinks deeply about the structure of our learning, from how tables are moved around to make for a more intimate space where discussion flourishes, to the handouts he always prepares for us … which are as much witty as they are informational.”

A student values Clark’s advocacy “for inclusivity and exploration, as exhibited by his role in organizing a transformative trip to Ireland last summer, the first of its kind at Hamilton, which I also had the honor to be part of. Professor Clark is generous. Teaching excellently for him does not begin and end in the classroom.”

Kelly Faig
Kelly Faig
Kelly Faig
The John R. Hatch Excellence in Teaching Award

A student nominator wrote of Faig: “I always appreciated how often she checked in with the class for understanding, engaged us with discussion questions, and made herself available to answer questions or chat after class. Within my first few advising meetings, she quickly recognized my passion for psychology and goal to pursue a career in mental health. I am so fortunate that she has already opened so many doors for me in the field.

Another said Faig “has consistently proven to be a dedicated, compassionate, and inspiring mentor to numerous students … As a passionate educator, she strives to support each student individually. Notably, Professor Faig is adaptable and considerate of students’ diverse backgrounds and personal circumstances, showing her genuine care for their overall wellbeing.”

A student wrote that [Faig’s] “admirable interest in research and the field was always evident in our conversations, as she regularly introduced new articles and studies that may interest me. [She] applies innovative and challenging methods to help students grasp the material thoroughly and understand its purpose.”

Chenyu Wang
Chenyu Wang
Chenyu Wang
The Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award

A student who nominated Wang noted that he has learned a significant amount from Professor Wang. “I am a math major, but I plan on being a teacher, so my education classes are of great importance to me. The biggest skill that Professor Wang has taught me is how to observe. The world is a complicated place, so knowing how to sort out what matters is a difficult task. However difficult, it is necessary.”

The nominator cited helpful conversations with Wang where “we talked about (among other things) what methods of learning exist in the world outside the traditional rows of desks and chalkboards that most students in the United States experience.” The student also noted Wang’s “willingness to agree to run an independent study for me the following semester despite only knowing me for three or four months at that point.”

“My time at Hamilton has not always been easy, and even when I’ve needed somewhere to go and talk about what is going wrong and brainstorm solutions, there has always been a chair available for me to sit in,” the student wrote. “...  I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award than Professor Wang. She has shown never-ending support, has taught me more than I can truly characterize, and has been a cornerstone of my experience at Hamilton, for which I will be forever grateful.”

Aaron Strong
Aaron Strong

Another student noted that “Professor Wang has shown exemplary teaching from her reading and supporting materials as well as conversations in anthropology. She is encouraging through her experimentation with various teaching materials and willingness to learn from students. Outside of class, her research and scholarly articles have spoken for those who may not normally be spoken for, such as international students in the U.S.”

Aaron Strong
Sidney Wertimer Award

At the Class & Charter Day ceremony on May 7, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Aaron Strong received Student Assembly’s Sidney Wertimer Award.

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