Denison Honors Two Faculty Members With Awards For Excellence, Service
Posted: April 16, 2004
Denison University honored two faculty members during its annual Academic Awards Convocation on Friday (April 16) - Associate Professor James Pletcher was named as the winner of this year's Charles A. Brickman Teaching Excellence Award and Professor Donald Schilling was named as the new holder of the Charles and Nancy Brickman Distinguished Service Chair. Both awards are among the highest honors bestowed on faculty by the University.
Associate Professor Jim Pletcher (left) and Professor Don Schilling (center), recipients of the Charles A. Brickman Teaching Excellence Award and Charles and Nancy Brickman Distinguished Service Chair, respectively, pose with University President Dale Knobel following Denison's Academic Awards Convocation on April 16. (Link here [jpg] for a downloadable high-resolution JPEG image of Denison's 2004 Brickman faculty honorees - 4,152 K)
The Teaching Excellence Award celebrates a member of the faculty who excels in teaching. "Teaching takes many forms and occurs in many contexts at Denison," said Provost David Anderson in presenting the award. "In honoring this colleague we not only celebrate one individual's excellence, we also reaffirm our commitment as a college to the art and craft, the discipline and the vocation of teaching in all of its many forms."
Pletcher, a member of the political science department since 1983, is a Phi Beta Kappa andsumma cum laudegraduate of the University of Michigan. He earned his master's and doctoral degrees in political science from the University of Wisconsin. He was lauded as a professor that students say you "have" to take before leaving campus as well as a teacher of critical thinking who challenges students to realize that some arguments are better than others and to understand why that is so. Pletcher "works to convey the importance of conceptual thinking because it provides tools to test and evaluate our experience," said Anderson.
A specialist in sub-Saharan Africa, Pletcher's research interests now focus on the political economy of agriculture in the developing world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Malaysia. Among his publications are "The Politics of Liberalizing Zambia's Maize Markets," "Public Interventions in Agricultural Markets in Malaysia: Rice and Palm Oil"; "The Political Uses of Agricultural Markets in Zambia"; and "The National, Regional and Household Contexts of Agricultural Production in Eastern Province, Zambia." He is a member of the American Political Science Association, the African Studies Association and the Women's Caucus for Political Science. He has lectured at the Centre for Development Research at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and attended a senior policy seminar of the African Economic Research Consortium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The Distinguished Service Chair honors a senior member of the Denison faculty who has excelled in her or his commitment to the University. Recipients model accomplished teaching, concern for students, and exemplary service to the community. Schilling is the fourth holder of the chair since it was established in 1992 by a gift from Charles and Nancy Brickman. Prior holders are: Sam Thios, department of psychology and vice president for student affairs and dean of students; Anthony Lisska, department of philosophy and former director of the Honors Program; and David O. Woodyard, department of religion.
Schilling joined the Denison faculty in 1971. He earned his bachelor's degree with honors at DePauw University and both his master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. An expert on German history, especially the World War II era and the Holocaust, and on modern Europe and African history, Schilling served as director of the South African Orientation Program for students preparing to study in the United States for a number of years in the 1980s and early 1990s. He also served as dean of the first-year students (where he was affectionately known as "Dean Don of Doane") from 1997 to 2002, as chair of the history department from 1985 to 1987, and as chair of the faculty in 1980-81 and 1993-94. This year he is serving as chair of the faculty lunch program, a forum in which he has frequently contributed presentations such as "The Holocaust and the Politics of Remembrance," "Into the Wild: Denison's First Outdoor Orientation," and "Local Woman's Brother Dies in Columbus: The Challenges and Rewards of DoingHistory."
He has published several works including "Politics of Education in Colonial Algeria and Kenya," a chapter in "World War II in Europe, Africa and the Americas," and a chapter "Representing the Holocaust in the General Histories of World War II" in the Northwestern University Press work titled "Lessons and Legacies V: The Holocaust and Justice." In 1998 he edited and wrote the introduction to volume II, "Teaching the holocaust in a Changing World," in the Lessons and Legacies series. He also has contributed "The Dead End of Demonizing: Dealing with the Perpetrators in Teaching the Holocaust," in the book "Perspectives on the Holocaust: A Guide for Teachers and Scholars" published by the New York University Press in 1996. Schilling also is a frequent contributor to scholarly journals and is one of six authors of a forthcoming book detailing the history ofto be produced by the Granville Historical Society in celebration of the community's bicentennial in 2005.
In 1999, Schilling received the Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his service to the Academy and to the field of history in Ohio from the Ohio Academy of History which he served as president in 1994/95, the third Denison history faculty member elected to the post (William T. Utter in 1940-41 and G. Wallace Chessman in 1977-78) . He was program director for an international conference of the German Studies Association in 1997, hosted the annual meeting of the Ohio Academy of History in 1998, and has served as faculty adviser to the Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honorary for many years. During the past decade he has been the voice of the women's basketball team and sung in the Concert Choir.
Schilling won grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Denison University Faculty Development Fund and the University's Research Foundation, and was a fellow of the Institute of European Studies in Berlin in 1993. He won the Holocaust Educational Foundation Course Development Grant in 1992 and a Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad: Social and Economic Change in Southern Africa fellowship in 1991.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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