2009 Magellan Circle Teaching Award Winners Named

2009 Magellan Circle Teaching Award Winners Named

By Johnny CruzUniversity Communications
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Christine Dykgraaf
Christine Dykgraaf
Dana Mastro
Dana Mastro
Laura Briggs
Laura Briggs

Three faculty members with distinguished careers in the classroom were presented with 2009 Magellan Circle Teaching Awards during the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences convocation ceremony.

Christine Dykgraaf, instructor of Near Eastern studies, Dana Mastro, associate professor of  communication, and Laura Briggs, associate professor and head of women's studies, were honored with the award, which recognizes excellence in teaching.

The awards, considered one of the highest honors the college can bestow on its faculty, were presented Friday.

"I think this exemplifies the best in teaching that our college has, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels," said Ed Donnerstein, the dean of the college. "These faculty are the quintessential teachers and researchers at our college."

The awards are funded by donations from Magellan Circle members. The Magellan Circle, the college's donor society, supports the Dean's Fund for Excellence, which sponsors teaching awards as well as student scholarships and faculty and student research projects.

Membership in the Magellan Circle begins at $1,000 per year.

Christine Dykgraaf
SBS Magellan Circle Award for Lower Division Instruction

Shortly after joining the Near Eastern studies department in 2003, Dykgraaf assumed the duties of undergraduate adviser. Dykgraaf teaches "Middle Eastern Humanities," a core UA general education course with an enrollment of 500 to 700 students a year. Dykgraaf supervises 10 to 16 teaching assistants a semester.

"Ms. Dykgraaf's teaching evaluations, comments from students and my firsthand knowledge of her pedagogy were from the start positive and creative," said Michael Bonine, professor and head of the Near Eastern studies department. "Christine consistently goes beyond any ‘normal' teaching role in advising and mentoring students by spending time and energy to help undergraduates in her courses grasp the curricula in a meaningful way."

Dana Mastro
SBS Magellan Circle Award for Upper Division Instruction

Mastro is the director of graduate studies for the communication department. Her work documents depictions of race and ethnicity on television – with an emphasis on Latinos – and assesses the extent to which viewing influences stereotyping and racial and ethnic cognitions.

She is currently examining food marketing to Latino children on television. Mastro teaches classes in mass communication, media theory, communication theory, research methods, media, race/ethnicity and stereotyping.

"I can attest to the fact that Dana is a perfect model of an instructor who maintains high standards in her classes, who is impeccably fair in her teaching, and yet maintains the respect and admiration of her students," said Chris Segrin, professor and head of the communication department.

"My experience in Dana's class led me to pursue a graduate degree in communication and to aspire to be a dedicated teacher myself," said Michelle Ortiz, who will be an assistant professor at Ohio State University this fall. "Dana demonstrates her dedication to her undergraduate students by creating a constructive, open environment where students take an active role in learning the material."

Laura Briggs
SBS Magellan Circle Award for Graduate Instruction

Briggs, head of the UA women's studies department, is the author of "Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science, and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico" and is currently working on a book on transnational and transracial adoption.

Her commitment to graduate education was demonstrated in her chairing the committee that developed the women's studies doctoral degree program. "She was forceful, persistent and effective in achieving that goal," fellow professors Liz Lapovsky Kennedy and Judy Nolte Temple wrote in nominating her.

"There is no way to convey the depth of Dr. Briggs' commitment to her students or the revolutionary experience of being in her classroom," said graduate students Mari Galup and Erin Durban.

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