The School of Communication on Monday awarded four faculty members its annual Galbut Outstanding Faculty Award and the Clarence Simon Awards for Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring. The awards were distributed on June 4 at the yearly Honors Convocation ceremony in Norris University Center.
The following is a description of the awards and their respective faculty tributes. Congratulations to all.
Galbut Outstanding Faculty Award
Presented to a faculty member who has been outstanding in teaching and in efforts to engage students both inside and outside the classroom; selected from outstanding faculty members nominated by School of Communication students; established by the Galbut family.
Brett Neveu is a senior lecturer in the Department of Radio/Television/Film, the coordinator of the under graduate Creative Writing for the Media module, and a prolific writer for film, television, and stage. Neveu’s popular writing courses tackle an impressive array of genres and coax his students to find their voice and embrace new audiences. “He just bursts with enthusiasm and excitement,” says department chair David Tolchinsky. “And he’s a role model of productivity, creativity, and hard work.” Balancing high demands with ample encouragement, Neveu is particularly valued by his undergraduate and MFA students for his expert command and encyclopedic knowledge of popular culture and media. “He treated every student’s work with equal seriousness and attention,” said one. “His leadership fostered a creative and safe space, which allowed us to build a sense of community despite our differences in age and experience.” His unwavering respect for students has led to creative breakthroughs and, as one pointed out, a feeling of empowerment: “This safe environment com bined with his sharp insights enabled me, and I think many of my classmates, to access what’s most important to us as human beings and to make that our strength as writers and artists.”
Clarence Simon Awards for Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring
Annually recognizes up to three outstanding School of Communication teachers and mentors—one in each of the school’s three divisions (division I, theatre and performance studies; division II, radio/ television/film and communication studies; and division III, communication sciences and disorders)— based on nominations by students and faculty; honors Clarence Simon, who served the school as an outstanding teacher and administrator for many years.
Elizabeth Son (Division I)
Elizabeth Son is an associate professor of theatre and an interdisciplinary scholar of contemporary performance in South Korea and the United States. Called “a superlative teacher” and a “generous mentor to students at all stages in their academic training” by one faculty peer, Son has built a pro fessional reputation on a foundation of kindness and passion for theatre. “She is an expert listener— a quality that is invaluable yet, for many of us, surprisingly difficult to achieve,” adds the peer. “She listens deeply and generously to each and every student, both in and out of the classroom, in a way that communicates her genuine respect and admiration for their ideas and work.” Son’s research celebrates underrepresented voices and explores theatre’s relation to sociopolitics, war, and gender violence. She makes herself available to students across all levels as a mentor and guide and models behavior as an impassioned activist. “Everyone interested in theatre should try to take a course with Professor Son,” says one student. “The level of discussion in her classroom is unmatched anywhere on campus.” Another says, “Professor Son takes care to draw out a thread of sound analysis from even the most jumbled inclass comment. Her careful appreciation of each student’s efforts promotes a learning environment in which students listen to their classmates with respect and compassion.” Yet another says, “Professor Son is astonishing. On the very last day of class, I was actually overwhelmed with emotion because we looked back on all that we had discovered. This course changed my life, and I have grown intellectually and internally because of it.”
Anne Marie Piper (Division II)
Anne Marie Piper is an associate professor of communication studies and a leading researcher in the field of assistive design and technology. She works to devise and hone user interfaces to support and assist those with communication needs across the lifespan. Additionally, she is a highly respected educator and mentor who works with numerous students across all learning levels. “She not only leaves a lasting, definitively favorable impression upon her students, but moreover does so in a dis tinctly personal way,” says one. Piper’s command of the material and her engaging way of approach ing difficult topics are particularly helpful to firstyear students or anyone new to her research focus. “She is innately respectful of all her students, as well as extremely receptive to ideas, opinions, and experiences vastly different from her own,” says one student. “She is the type of professor you want to work hard for; her students often are inspired to match her level of dedication.” Piper maintains her students’ interest by relating the subject matter to realworld problems central to their lives and by including each voice in her class in a constructive and positive way. Says one student, “Her nurturing personality and dynamic approach to teaching truly make her a force in the educational world.”
Molly Losh (Division III)
Molly Losh is the JoAnn and Peter Dolle Chair of Learning Disabilities in the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and a developmental psychologist whose research focuses on autism and related neurodevelopmental conditions. She directs the Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Lab, codirects the Center for Transdisciplinary Training (part of Northwestern’s Institute for Innovations in Developmental Sciences), and serves as a faculty associate at the Institute for Policy Research. Despite a full docket, Losh is renowned for the attention and guidance she gives her students, both undergraduate and graduate. “Her courses attract students from throughout the University,” says department chair Sumitrajit Dhar, “and students appreciate her expertise as well as her passion.” Noting her preparedness and attention to detail, students applaud her compelling and welldeveloped lectures that cite recent peerreviewed research. “She holds her students to a high standard because she knows they are capable, which is extremely encouraging as a student,” says one. “It is comforting to know that she wants you to succeed and that she is there to help if you are struggling.” Losh creates memorable, inspiring experiences for her students, whether in a classroom, a lab, or exchanges as a mentor in the department’s undergraduate honors program. “Molly’s ability to connect with and inspire students, combined with her passion and expertise, have resulted in meaningful learning experiences for undergraduates both within and outside the department,” says Dhar. “We are fortunate to have Molly on our faculty.”