Five honored with College’s highest faculty awards
From left: Ann S. Devlin, May Buckley Sadowski '19 Professor of Psychology; Tobias Myers, assistant professor of classics; Lisa H. Wilson, Charles J. MacCurdy Professor of American History; and Ariella R. Rotramel, Vandana Shiva Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Intersectionality Studies. Not pictured: David Dorfman '81, professor of dance.
Five honored with College’s highest faculty awards
Connecticut College’s most prestigious faculty awards were presented at a May 1 ceremony honoring professors who displayed excellence in research, teaching, creativity and leadership.
The 2019 winners are:
Nancy Batson Nisbet Rash Faculty Award for Excellence in Research: Ann S. Devlin, May Buckley Sadowski '19 Professor of Psychology
Ann S. Devlin is the recipient of the 2019 Nancy Batson Nisbet Rash Faculty Research Award, presented annually to a faculty member selected on the basis of outstanding scholarly or artistic accomplishments. The award was established in 1995 in memory of Nancy Rash, the Lucy C. McDannel ’22 Professor of Art History at Connecticut College from 1972 to 1995.
Devlin, who joined the Connecticut College Faculty in 1973, is an expert in environmental psychology, particularly in the creation of more humanistic environments for healthcare, including psychotherapy offices and facilities for the elderly. She frequently writes about issues in evidence-based design and also specializes in way-finding, the study of the manner in which environments, through their design and layout, and designers, through their creation of maps and other tools, provide cues to help people navigate from an origin to a destination.
She has authored six books, nine book chapters and 42 journal articles, publishing in Environment and Behavior, The Journal of Counseling Psychology, The Journal of Environmental Psychology and the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, among many others. She has also served editor in chief of Environment and Behavior.
A former Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Devlin is the recipient of several Mellon Foundation grants, including the Mellon Initiative on Multiculturalism grant, and a grant from the Academy of Architecture for Health Foundation. She served as College marshal from 2002-2015, and was the 2012 recipient of the Helen Brooks Regan Faculty Award for Excellence in Leadership and the 2006 recipient of the John S. King Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.
In support of Devlin’s nomination for the Rash Award, Joan C. Chrisler, Class of ’43 professor of Psychology at Connecticut College, called Devlin “an example of all-around faculty excellence.”
John S. King Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching: Tobias Myers, Assistant Professor of Classics
Tobias Myers is the winner of the 2019 John S. King Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award was established to recognize teacher-scholars with high standards of teaching excellence and concern for students. It is named for the beloved professor of German whose warmth and humanity touched all who knew him.
Myers, a professor at the College since 2013, considers teaching his great professional joy. He specializes in Homeric studies, Greek and Latin poetry, ancient magic and religion and this history of ideas. At the College, he has taught 16 different courses, including elementary Greek; advanced Greek courses on Herodotus, lyric poetry and Homeric poetry; elementary Latin; advanced Latin courses on Horace and Ovid, and on Vergil's Eclogues; introductory courses to Greek and to Roman civilization; a first-year seminar on Socrates; an advanced seminar on classical epic; and an experimental course Beauty Stand Still Here, which tracks the relationship between beauty and time in tales of desire, throughout the Western tradition, from Homer to Goethe and Woolf.
Department of Philosophy Chair Simon Feldman called Myers’ list of courses “dazzling—and dizzying—in its diversity” in a letter of support for Myers’ nomination.
“The variety of pedagogies that Tobias has developed for teaching language, literature and history to different kinds of students, with different backgrounds and different intellectual needs and expectations, is quite amazing,” Feldman said.
Myers’ students have praised his ability to both challenge and support them, and his fellow faculty members have admired the way he connects with students and creates a classroom environment that fosters participation and collaboration.
“The time and care Tobias puts into tailoring his classes to his particular students’ interests and abilities is, perhaps, the strongest evidence of the seriousness and generosity of his commitment to the development of his students’ minds and skills,” Feldman said.
“He is a truly remarkable teacher—creative, caring, inspiring and a model for what a liberal arts professor at Connecticut College should be.”
Helen Brooks Regan Faculty Award for Excellence in Leadership: Lisa H. Wilson, Charles J. MacCurdy Professor of American History
Lisa H. Wilson is the recipient of the 2019 Helen Brooks Regan Faculty Leadership Award, presented annually to a tenured faculty member whose outstanding service in a leadership role exemplifies the College’s commitment to shared governance, democratic process and campus community development.
Wilson joined Connecticut College in 1987. She specializes in colonial North America, women and gender, and family history, and she has published on topics such as widowhood, manhood and stepfamilies. She has received multiple fellowships for her book projects, including a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at the Massachusetts Historical Society, an American Antiquarian Society/National Endowment for the Humanities Long-Term Fellowship, the Andrew W. Mellon Faculty Fellowship in the Humanities at Harvard University, and a Charles Warren Center Fellowship at Harvard University.
Over her impressive 32-year career, Wilson has served the College in numerous capacities, often in positions of leadership during important moments of institutional change. In addition to her work on numerous committees, she has served as co-chair of the Faculty Steering and Conference Committee, chair of Educational Planning Committee, and twice as the chair of the History Department. As director of the Gender and Women’s Studies program, she oversaw the transition of the program to include new teaching and scholarship on masculinity and LGBTQ studies. She was also co-chair of the Multicultural and Diversity Committee, which laid the groundwork for profoundly impactful equity and inclusion initiatives. She has also served as a mentor for faculty colleagues, particularly women and faculty of color.
“She has served with unflagging empathy and compassion. Professor Wilson’s great commitment to the humanity and dignity of her colleagues and her willingness to go far beyond what is expected as a mentor and advisor is truly astounding,” Wilson’s colleagues, Professors Marc Forster and Leo Garofalo, wrote in a letter in support of her nomination for the Regan Award.
“She personifies the values of humanity, community and collegiality that are at the heart of great leadership.”
Helen Mulvey Faculty Award for Fostering Student Achievement: Ariella R. Rotramel, Vandana Shiva Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Intersectionality Studies
Ariella R. Rotramel, a professor at the College since 2012, is the 2019 winner of the Helen Mulvey Faculty Award, presented to an assistant professor who regularly offers classes that challenge students to work harder than they thought they could and to reach unanticipated levels of academic achievement.
Rotramel’s research and teaching reflect her interdisciplinary training and commitment to mixing theoretical and practical work. She specializes in social movements, gender and women’s history, women and work, ethnic studies and queer and sexuality studies, and she has taught 15 different courses, including “Feminist Approaches to Disability Studies,” “Transnational Women's Movements and Public Policy and Social Ethics,” “Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies,” “Introduction to Queer Studies” and “Feminist Theory.”
Rotramel has also advised four honors thesis students, served as a reader for seven theses, and supervised 15 independent study and certificate projects. She regularly works with student researchers during the summer, and created a digital photo archive internship for students to interact with Asian American activist history.
“Professor Rotramel’s classes ask students to stretch their thinking with deeply complex theoretical work, and, equally important, to apply those ideas in the world—online and in their work with community partners,” Danielle Egan, the Fuller-Maathai Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Intersectionality Studies at Connecticut College, wrote in a letter nominating Rotramel for the Mulvey Award.
“For Professor Rotramel, the work of gender, sexuality and intersectionality studies is not confined to the abstract—it is embodied and it is in practice. To this end, students not only see how this work takes place on the ground, but how they must reflexively consider their own biography, power and privilege in the work that takes place in the classroom and in the community.”
President’s Award for Creative Impact: David Dorfman ’81, Professor of Dance
David Dorfman ’81 is the 2019 recipient of the President’s Award for Creative Impact. Established by President Katherine Bergeron in 2018, the award honors a senior or emeritus faculty member whose contributions to a chosen field over the course of a career represent a record of significant innovation, achievement and influence.
Dorfman, who joined Connecticut College in 2004, is an internationally recognized dancer and choreographer who has performed extensively throughout North and South America, Europe and Central Asia. He is the founder of the influential modern dance company David Dorfman Dance and has served as its artistic director since it was established in 1987. In 2007, David Dorfman Dance was permanently named company-in-residence at Connecticut College.
In 2017, Dorfman made his Broadway debut as the choreographer of Indecent, for which he won the 2017 Lucille Lortel Award for best choreography. He has also won four fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, three from the New York Foundation for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a United States Artists Fellowship, an American Choreographers Award, the first Paul Taylor Fellowship from The Yard, and a New York Dance & Performance Award (“Bessie”).
Dorfman has also traveled with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs to Turkey, Armenia and Tajikistan, and partnered with USAID El Salvador to bring dance to youth in an area plagued by gang violence.
“His work is nothing short of extraordinary,” Professor of English Julie Rivkin wrote of Dorfman. “Words, pictures, music all play their part in his multi-media meditations that are unabashedly personal and political, intimate and grand. My feeling after seeing a David Dorfman Dance performance is yes, this is the real thing, this is artistic creation.”