By Hannah Frank
Special to The Denisonian

Though teaching in a college setting may be known as a thankless profession, DCGA is seeking to award a formal “thanks” to two faculty members on behalf of the student body. A select few endowed chairs and professorships are given out each year at the annual Academic Awards Convocation, but the DCGA Faculty Award will be the first decided by the student voice.

In appreciation of a particular faculty member’s dedication to transformative teaching or engaged organizational advising, students are invited to nominate him or her to be a recipient. There will be one award presented to a professor whose teaching “facilitate[s] the growth of students into autonomous thinkers and well-rounded individuals who embrace community, engage with inequality, and overcome adversity.”

Dr. Bill Kirkpatrick from the Department of Communication suggests that this award will provide a space for students to engage in a campus-wide conversation about what constitutes effective teaching and learning. He articulates, “The nomination process for the DCGA Faculty Awards will help students develop a longer-view perspective on their learning at Denison, while the collective expression of the student body will be a great addition to how we work together as a college to define good teaching.”

The second of the two awards will be presented on grounds of engaged and appropriate organizational advising. Because club membership and leadership is essential to students’ development and growth outside the classroom, having consistent and encouraging advisors is critical to the health of the college’s co-curricular program.

Nominations will be accepted from the student body via a Google form (for link, see Jenny Pearlman’s all-student email on March 28) until Friday, April 12. The nominations will be reviewed and vetted by a committee of eight students. This committee has been appointed and convened by DCGA Vice President Atanu Chakravarty and includes the following students: Cale Garverick ‘13, Katy Cole ‘13, Michaela Grenier  ‘14, Kiara Sims ‘14, Jordan Berger ‘15, Roger Phelps ‘16, and Chris Hoye ‘16.

Phelps says the committee has thoroughly enjoyed reviewing the nominations that have been submitted thus far. He reflects, “The personal stories that the responders incorporate into their answers are incredible. The ways that professors have personally affected students’ lives shows how Denison professors are more than just educators; they’re our friends.”

The committee will present finalists to the DCGA Senate, who will then vote to decide the two recipients. Awards will be presented during the General Body Faculty Meeting on Thursday, May 2. Recipients will receive an engraved plaque and an invitation to dinner with the committee.

Students recognize that the life of a professor is one of constant giving, and DCGA is taking this opportunity to give back in an expression of appreciation and admiration. DCGA Vice President Atanu Chakravarty, who has spearheaded the creation of the award, affirms, “In showing our appreciation for these advisers and faculty members, we hope that the awards begin a tradition of public appreciation for many members of the Denison community.”