President's Excellence in Teaching Award

A liberal arts education is uniquely capable of preparing today’s students for lives of engaged citizenship in a rapidly changing global society. Puget Sound is known for its exceptional teaching faculty, a critical element of a challenging and rewarding educational experience.

The Puget Sound President’s Excellence in Teaching Award was established by former trustee Hal Eastman ’60 and his wife, Jacque ’61, to recognize faculty members who demonstrate exceptional teaching skills, independent of accomplishments in scholarship, research, or publication. Recipients are selected for their genuine passion for teaching, an ability to inspire students to learn, a capacity to set high expectations and challenge students to meet them, a respect for students as individuals, an enduring intellectual curiosity, and the capacity for growth, change, and vitality in the classroom and beyond.

 

Gwynne Brown

Monica DeHart (2014)
Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology
Director, Latin American Studies

Monica DeHart's work focuses on the intersection between development and identity politics, especially in relation to Latin America. She is especially interested in the role that gender, class, and ethnic difference play in shaping people's identities and relations within transnational communities and development projects. DeHart's current research investigates the question of how China's increasing presence in Latin America is changing the definitions, practices, and politics of economic development in the region. Her courses include Cultural Anthropology, Social and Cultural Change (An Anthropology of Development), and Border Crossings: Transnational Migration and Diaspora Studies.

Gwynne BrownGwynne Brown (2013)
Associate Professor, Music History and Music Theory

Gwynne Kuhner Brown is a musicologist, pianist, and mbira player with a special passion for American concert music of the 20th century. Her doctoral dissertation on George Gershwin's masterpiece, Porgy and Bess, led her to an ongoing investigation of the African-American musicians who were Gershwin's inspirations and contemporaries, including Eva Jessye and Hall Johnson. She is presently writing a book on the life and works of William Dawson (1899–1990), famed director of the Tuskegee Institute Choir. She has presented her scholarship at national meetings of the American Musicological Society and the Society for American Music. 

John HansonJohn Hanson (2012)
Professor and chair of the chemistry department, John Hanson joined the faculty of University of Puget Sound in 1990. His teaching and research interests include organic chemistry, computational and bioorganic chemistry, and biochemistry. Cited by students as an enthusiastic and passionate professor, in the past five years Hanson has mentored 11 summer research students, 24 senior thesis research students, and six directed student research projects, with many students going on to present their research findings at national conferences. (And they do a pretty amazing job on each year's American Chemical Society standardized organic chemistry exam each year, too!)

Bill Breitenbach

Bill Breitenbach (2011)

Professor, History

Students praise Bill Breitenbach's organization of courses and class material; love being challenged and engaged in interesting material and texts; and appreciate his accessibility and concern for their understanding, as well as how much they learn as a result of the thorough evaluation of their written work. His students regularly win the university's writing excellence awards. Breitenbach writes about his teaching: “My goal as a teacher continues to be to offer the kinds of courses that I myself would have wanted to take as an undergraduate. These were courses in which the professor was intense and challenging, courses that required me and inspired me to work harder and learn more than I would have done if left to my own devices. . . . I try to conduct classes so that the ratio of ideas to minutes is high.”

Nick KontogeorgopoulosNick Kontogeorgopoulos (2010)

Professor and Director, International Political Economy

Described by colleagues and students as an exceptional teacher, Nick Kontogeorgopoulos is recognized for his passion, enthusiasm, respect for students, and his concern for student understanding. He notes about his commitment to teaching, "I believe that it is my responsibility to instigate in students a lifelong desire to learn more about the world and to acquire the knowledge and values needed to respond to the world's cultural, social, and political diversity." His academic research interest include tourism geography, ecotourism, and community-based development. In the words one student included at the bottom of her course evaluation, "Nick's the best." We concur.

Jeff Matthews

Jeffrey J. Matthews (2009)

Professor, School of Business and Leadership; Director, Business Leadership Program

Jeff Matthews teaches leadership and international courses in the School of Business and Leadership, and also teaches in the Honors Program and history. His reasearch and writing have focused on American foreign policy, military leaderhsip, the Fortune-500 company Corning Inc., and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Professor Matthews earned a B.S. from Northern Arizona University in 1987, an M.A. and M.B.A. from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in 1990 and 1995, respectively, and a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in 2000.

Suzanne HollandSuzanne Holland (2008)
Professor of Ethics and Philip M. Phibbs Research Professor, Religion
Suzanne Holland joined the puget Sound faculty in 1997, and has built a national and international reputation as a bioethicist. A lecturer, author, editor, and teacher, her scholarship focuses on the ethics of new genetic technologies, biotechnologies, stem cell research and ethics, and religion, gender, and culture.

Amy RykenAmy Ryken (2007)
Associate Professor, School of Education
Website
Amy Ryken joined the Puget Sound faculty in the Master of Arts in Teaching Program in 2001 with an emphasis on teaching methods for math and science. A collaborative teacher and learner, she is a presenter, panelist, and author of scholarly research concerning environmental education, science education partnerships, and teacher learning.

Cathy Hale

Catherine Hale (2006)
Professor, Psychology
Catherine Hale teaches research methods in psychology, cognitive psychology, cognition and aging, and the capstone seminar for majors. Outside the clasroom, her work with students includes collaborative research on dementia and Alzheimer's disease at American Lake Veterans Hospital.

Hans OstromHans Ostrom (2005)
Professor, African American Studies and English, and James Dolliver National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Teaching Professor
Website

Andy RexAndrew Rex (2004)
Professor, Physics
Director, Honors Program

Paul LoebPaul Loeb (2003)
Professor, Philosophy

Ken RousslangKen Rousslang (2002)

Leon GrunbergLeon Grunberg (2001)
Professor and Chair, Comparative Sociology
Website

Sunil KukrejaSunil Kukreja (2000)
Professor, Comparative Sociology
Website

Nancy BristowNancy Bristow (1999)
Professor, History
Website
Nancy Bristow teaches 20th-century American history, with an emphasis on race, gender, and social change, and has been part of Puget Sound’s faculty since 1990. Initially a student of progressivism and World War I, she continues to pursue her interest in social upheaval and cataclysms in her research on the social and cultural history of the influenza pandemic of 1918–19. She is also a previous recipient (1999) of the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award. Bristow earned a B.A. from Colorado College in 1980, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from University of California-Berkeley in 1983 and 1989, respectively.

Susan Owen

Susan Owen (1998)
Professor, Communication Studies