I've received the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize, the Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Prize, and, in 2017, I was named a Harvard College Professor. But my proudest achievements as a teacher are the courses and programs I was inspired by our students to help create.
Harvard students want to feel a connection between what they're learning in the classroom and what's happening in the world. Recognizing and responding to that has transformed my teaching. In my seminar on the contemporary novel, for instance, students no longer write standard papers; instead, they write book reviews, some of which ended up being published. In the General Education course I co-teach, students have the option of designing memorials to a Civil War that continues to shape our politics today. And in History and Literature, which I chaired for four years, students can now take classes that offer a scholarly perspective on current events, among them incarceration, deportation, and refugees.
Sometimes responding to students requires that we create new structures. I'm particularly proud of the collaborative work I did to integrate Expository Writing into Humanities 10--and to create the new ethnic studies track. In these projects, as in all my teaching, I'm committed to meeting students where they are and working with them to ensure they get the education they want and deserve.