University News

Professors Honored for Excellence in Teaching

May 13, 2014

Denison University honored two professors with the prestigious Charles A. Brickman teaching excellence award at the college’s Academic Awards Convocation held on Friday, April 25, in Swasey Chapel. Catherine Dollard, professor of history, and Nestor Matthews, professor of psychology, were honored for their consummate dedication and commitment to their students.

In presenting the award to Dollard, Provost Kim Coplin said, “Cathy is well known at Denison for her attention to her student’s learning and her love of the liberal arts. A product of an undergraduate liberal arts education, she has taken great care in making sure that her teaching utilizes an interdisciplinary approach. Cathy brings references to her students on all aspects of her subject matter so they can investigate topics further from the economic, political, scientific, artistic and other points of view. Students often comment, not only on how much they learn in her classes, but on the many opportunities for critical analysis and dialogue offered in the class. Cathy also reflects a high standard of committed service to the college, having served with distinction in all parts of the faculty governance system.”

Describing Matthews, Coplin said, “Nestor is known for his enthusiasm for teaching, advising and scientific research. He is a popular teacher and his students often comment on his challenging and engaging style in the classroom. Nestor’s students appreciate his excitement about the class material and are grateful for his energy in encouraging discussion of challenging concepts. Always a scientist, his constant pursuit of better teaching methods led to a novel use of video in his teaching process which has since expanded to other departments. The high value and importance that Nestor places on scientific research is evident not only in his own extensively cited research, but also with the time he has given to advising students both formally and informally via summer and senior research projects.”

A member of the Denison faculty since 1996, Dollard is a historian of modern Europe with particular interest in the history of Imperial Germany. She teaches courses on modern Europe, modern Germany, gender history, World War I, Eastern Europe, and Myth & Personality in 19th-century Europe. Professor Dollard’s research engages historical questions related to gender, social movements, cultural identity, and the impact of war upon society. Her first book, “The Surplus Woman: Unmarried in Imperial Germany, 1871-1918,” examines the ways in which anxiety over female marital status served as a central leitmotif in the culture and society of the Kaiserreich.

Dollard has published articles in German Studies Review, Women's History Review, and Women in Germany. She currently is working on a comparative analysis of the World War I correspondence of German and American soldiers. Dollard has been the recipient of a Chancellor’s Fellowship and a renewal grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, a Robert C. Good Fellowship, a Lilly Faculty Foundation Fellowship, and a Mellon Faculty Career Enhancement Grant. She received her bachelor’s at Denison University, where she was a President’s Medalist, and her master’s and doctorate at the University of North Carolina.

Matthews joined the Denison faculty in 2001. He teaches “Sensation & Perception,” “Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences,” “Research Methods,” and “Introduction to Psychology.” Seminars he has offered include “Perceptual Learning and Brain Plasticity,” “The Cognitive Neuroscience of Music,” “Ruining Humor with Science,” “Neuroscience and the Liberal Arts,” and “NERDs Without Borders.” His research addresses issues in human vision and audition, with an emphasis on how these sensory systems improve with training.

Organizing and coordinating many programs at Denison and in other communities, Matthews has been the college’s Neuroscience Program coordinator; has organized and promoted the Denison Brain Bee; is the faculty advisor for the Denison University Chapter of Nu Rho Psi (The Neuroscience Honor Society): the faculty advisor for N.E.R.D (Neuroscience Education & Research at Denison): the organizer of the Denison University Sigma Xi Chapter “Science Cafes:” and the co-organizer of the Great Lakes College Association's Neuroscience Conference. Matthews received a bachelor’s from Fairleigh Dickinson University, a master’s of science and doctorate from Brown University, and a post-doctoral fellowship from Columbia University.

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