1997 Pinanski Prize citation

Presentation of Awards

Phyllis McGibbon

Phyllis McGibbon’s commitment to combining art and community is an inspiration to her students.  One described her classes as “flawless, so fluid that an entire process is learned as a whole.”

Professor McGibbon is dedicated to bringing art to Wellesley’s campus and to taking Wellesley students’ art to the outside world.  Her efforts along these lines included the successful 1996 “Jewett Invitational: Work from Nine Women’s Colleges.”

A gifted artist and printmaker herself, Professor McGibbon is known by students in her drawing and printmaking classes for her thoroughness and her accessibility.  Students are drawn to her. One was counseled so strongly by her friends to sign up for Professor McGibbon’s course that she “was told to plan my other classes around hers.”

The lessons taught by Professor McGibbon are far-reaching, her students say.  Another described the deep conversations she encourages about how “images correspond to and influence our lives.”

A former student who wrote on her behalf summed up succinctly what many others had said: “In the time I have known Professor McGibbon,” she wrote, “I feel I have learned to speak and write and think all over again.”

Julia Miwa

Julia Miwa’s enthusiasm for and dedication to chemistry is contagious.  “Her physical energy somehow transfers into the material she is teaching,” one of her nominators wrote.

She approaches her teaching with the curiosity and experimental outlook she brings to her research, trying out unorthodox methods for teaching chemistry.

She emphasizes group work, and structures her classes around “interactivity,” preparing assignments on which students work together outside of class, and using class time for group trouble shooting and problem solving.

“She loves what she does and loves chemistry,” one student comments, “She wants her students to see how very cool things like the Aldol reaction can be.”

For another student, who described herself as initially a “mediocre” chemist, what began as a summer internship with Professor Miwa became the “best two years of my life…She seemed to have figured out exactly who I was and what I needed.”

Several students spoke of Professor Miwa’s uncanny ability to ignite students’ imaginations, often teaching them more than they set out to learn: “Professor Miwa taught me much more than laboratory skills,” one observed, “She taught me to believe in myself, an not to be afraid to plunge into the unknown.”

Edward Stettner

Edward Stettner is a professor of such distinction that his “teaching skills is surpassed only by his dedication” to his students and to Wellesley College.  Calm, knowledgeable, and patient, Professor Stettner is described both as an inspiration and a dedicated mentor to his students.  His lectures have been described as “focused” and “highly absorbing,” with one student commenting, “I have never left a lecture without a good understanding of what I have read for class.”

“A natural mentor,” Professor Stettner has an approach to teaching based on the process of learning, not merely the end result.  One student recalls that in his seminar “We read everyone from John Locke to Bill Clinton to Murray Rothbard to the Supreme Court, and he found a way to relate all the theorists both to each other and their times.”  Through Professor Stettner’s “draft option,” students are strongly encouraged to discuss drafts of papers before tuning in a final copy.  In Professor Stettner’s classes, “every paper is a learning experience.”

Professor Stettner's contributions to this istutution have een numerous and far reaching.  His thirty year commitment to Wellesley College has included a term as Associate Dean and the founding of the Wellesley in Washington internship program.  He is a role model for students and professors alike.

Ed Stettner's impact on this learning community was well-summarized by one student who wrote:  "He gives thoughtful and constructive advice and serves as a stabilizing force in the lives of his students.  His willingness to help students with both our political science and our lives completes his effort to be a teacher, both in and out of the classroom."

Related

1997 Pinanski Prize for Excellence in Teaching

 

Read the full citations.