Four faculty members will be honored as Josiah Meigs Teaching Professors April 13 at the 2015 Faculty Recognition Banquet at the Georgia Center. The professorship is the university’s highest recognition for instruction at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Meigs Professors receive a permanent salary increase of $6,000 and a one-year fund of $1,000 for academic support.
Malcolm R. Adams
Professor and Department Head of Mathmatics
Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
By Alan Flurry
A leader in graduate and undergraduate programs at UGA, Malcolm Adams is a tireless advocate for students and for academic rigor in American higher education.
“There are so many pressing problems facing today’s world: climate change, poverty, epidemics and hunger,” Adams said. “Mathematics offers a collection of powerful tools to help us understand these problems and to model solutions.
“Even more, it offers a precise language of science that helps us transcend opinions and politics so that we can address real issues,” he added. “I am forever grateful that I have the opportunity to teach these tools to my students while at the same time trying to convey the intrinsic joy of exploring their intricacies.”
His instructional activities inside the classroom and beyond include restructuring calculus labs, mentoring, developing a 3000-level “transitional course,” developing applied mathematics and research experiences for the undergraduate curriculum, and working with middle and secondary school teachers to implement state and national mathematics education policies.
Adams redesigned Math 2700, the differential equations class taken by all engineering majors, into a miniature introduction to applied mathematics that now is required of all math majors as well.
Adams, who co-authored the textbook Measure Theory and Probability while still a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has never lost interest in the innovative blending of course material. His Linear Algebra text is used widely across universities in the U.S., and Adams has designed “bridge courses” at UGA to help students pass from the computational paradigm of lower division courses to the theoretical realm in mathematics.
In addition to these published texts, Adams chose not to professionally publish his notes on sequences and series-used extensively in these bridge courses at UGA-so as to make the notes freely available to students.
“These courses are crucial in the development of the mathematics and mathematics education majors, and it is a daunting task indeed to teach them as they require a complete and thorough revamping of the students’ understanding not only of the material at hand but of mathematics itself,” wrote Theodore Shifrin, Meigs Professor of Mathematics in Adams’ nomination dossier.
Professor of Food Science and Technology
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
By Sharon Dowdy
After 31 years in the UGA food science and technology department, Mark Harrison still enjoys teaching and conducting research.
“I like the fact that I can do both, but the student interaction is important and, after all, that’s really why we have universities,” he said.
Harrison teaches courses in food microbiology, food toxicology and the governmental regulations of food safety and quality. In addition to teaching 20 percent of the advanced microbiology classes and four of the online master’s of food technology classes, Harrison advises students.
He sometimes uses case studies to present the subject matter because they require the students to formulate and think critically to find solutions. This includes, for example, bringing guests from the industry into his “food law” class to provide a real-world approach to learning.
“To do a fair job, I can’t just talk about the legal aspect. I’m not a lawyer. I say, ‘Here’s the law, and now let’s look at how it’s developed and why one side of the issue likes it and the other side doesn’t,'” he said. “We also look at the impact the laws and regulations have on our food.”
Harrison tries to connect to students, but admits he’s had to make some changes over the years.
“I try to relate to them, but I’m not 22 anymore,” he said. “It was easy to fall into that pseudo-student mode when I was young and first beginning to teach. But later, your interests and their interests become much different. I’m not here to be their buddy. I’m here to teach and advise them.”
Harrison has changed his teaching style as a result of the generational gap that now separates him from most of his students.
“I’m sure we have all heard speakers say ‘Remember when this or that happened’ when using an example without realizing their audience has no memory of the event since it may have occurred before they were born or when they were in middle school,” he said. “To make the information meaningful, I think you have to tell the story and then relate the story to the course materials.”
Harrison must be hitting the mark as his student evaluations are always peppered with praise: “Patient, kind and understanding,” “Awesome, good attitude, not boring,” “His office doors are always open and he always responds to emails” “professional, personable, intelligent-expert on the subject matter,” and “Dr. Harrison is one of the best instructors I have had at any university.”
Erica J. Hashimoto
Allen Post Professor
School of Law
By Heidi Murphy
Erica J. Hashimoto, who holds the Allen Post Professorship at the School of Law, is a “hands down” favorite among law students. One former student said she “stands alone” as his “most influential” teacher.
“She not only teaches her students the rule of law, she inspires them to shape and develop it in a truly meaningful way,” he said.
What makes this description especially remarkable is that Hashimoto has just 10 years of teaching experience, and her classroom portfolio includes a first-year class as well as heavily subscribed upper-level courses and an experiential learning course.
“Being an admired and effective teacher for all three types of courses takes a tremendous amount of dedication, skill and flexibility,” said former law school Dean Rebecca Hanner White, who nominated Hashimoto for the honor. “Each of these courses demands a very different type of instructional delivery.”
Additionally, few law professors nationwide have diversified their teaching portfolios to straddle the long-established clinician/nonclinician line.
The creation of the Appellate Litigation Clinic is arguably one of Hashimoto’s greatest contributions. Through this experiential offering, three federal circuit courts of appeals appoint the clinic to represent clients. Third-year law students enter appearances on behalf of the clients, draft written briefs and orally argue the cases before these courts serving the 4th, 11th and D.C. circuits.
When establishing the clinic, Hashimoto had to convince the 11th Circuit Court to adopt a rule allowing students to practice before that court. According to U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Beverly Martin, Hashimoto felt strongly that the experience of arguing on behalf of real clients in the U.S. Courts of Appeals would be invaluable for her students, and she put her own reputation on the line to make this happen.
“The year I spent in the Appellate Litigation Clinic with professor Hashimoto was, to put it plainly, a life-changing experience,” said Thomas Clarkson, a former clinic student. “As I am sure you can imagine, with the clinic having only six students, every class session involved extremely close interactions between professor Hashimoto and the clinic team members. … This small classroom dynamic put pressure on both the students and the professor.”
Hashimoto has said her former experience as a federal public defender in Washington, D.C., allowed her to “find her voice” as an advocate for others.
Professor of Small Animal Internal Medicine
College of Veterinary Medicine
By Kat Yancey Gilmore
Cynthia Ward has been praised for being prepared, caring, compassionate, respectful and always aware that her students and clients learn in different ways.
These hallmarks of Ward’s role as a teacher and clinician have made her the kind of veterinary doctor her students wish to become.
The chief medical officer for the Small Animal Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Ward teaches both First-Year Odyssey courses to UGA’s undergraduates and veterinary students in both the classroom and hospital setting. She also trains interns and residents in small animal internal medicine.
Board certified as a specialist and highly regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts in veterinary endocrinology-her niche area of internal medicine-Ward is a sought-after instructor on the continuing education circuit, and she is invited to present lectures at five to six national meetings each year.
“Dr. Ward is able to let residents have enough freedom to manage their cases, but also gives sufficient oversight to feel guidance and backup, allowing them to gain confidence in their skills and develop as doctors,” said one of her graduate students.
Ward begins nurturing their confidence in the classroom. And her impact is everlasting.
“How she would affect my life in one day in the hospital was even more significant than what she taught me in class,” said
Dr. Carolyn Karrh, a 2008 graduate who recalled her first hospital encounter with Ward.
The professor and her students had entered an exam room to explain to a couple that their elderly dog—their “child”—had terminal cancer.
“As it was clear the information was sinking in with the couple, Dr. Ward paused, knelt down in front of them, and with the most compassion I have ever seen from any veterinarian in nearly 15 years, proceeded to truly connect with those people, to look them directly in the eyes, talk about their dog, how special he was, how sick he was and how euthanasia was a kind decision if they were to consider it,” Karrh said. “I knew at that moment Dr. Ward was, without question or hesitation, the kind of veterinarian I wanted to be for the rest of my life.”
Ward began her career as an educator at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, where she also earned both her medical degree and doctorate in veterinary medicine.