William Wasserstrom Prize

This award is given annually in memory of Professor William Wasserstrom of the English Department, a scholar of broad interests and profound learning, whose particular joy in teaching came in the graduate seminar, where students came to ask of themselves and each other those questions that led them to still better questions. Professor Wasserstrom knew that the best teacher is not the one who knows the most answers, but the one with the most refined ability to recognize the best questions.

The prize is made to the full-time member of the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences who is judged to exemplify best the qualities so evident in the career of William Wasserstrom: his outstanding success as a graduate seminar leader, research and dissertation director, and advisor and role model for graduate students.

The award will be made on the basis of the following criteria:

  • The recipient shall be a distinguished scholar whose work is characterized by its originality and distinctive character. The award will recognize the recipient’s active participation in the scholarly community and dedication to invigorating the life of the mind. This criteria represents a minimum level mark but the two bullets below are most critical for receipt of the award.
  • The recipient shall have presented an outstanding record of effective training of graduate students in any of a variety of ways, as a lecturer, seminar leader, research director, or mentor. The award will recognize a person’s outstanding assistance to graduate students aspiring to become professionals in the field.
  • The recipient shall have furthered the cause of graduate level research and training at Syracuse University by participating actively in the intellectual and institutional life of the College and his or her department.

Any graduate student or member of the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences may nominate a full-time member of the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences. The letter of nomination should present as concretely as possible the principal reasons for recognizing the nominee as an outstanding teacher of graduate students.

Materials needed in addition to letter of nomination:

  • Two seconding letters, including at least one from a current or former graduate student. The letter should detail what the nominee has given to that student’s career.
  • Letters from colleagues (including at least one from the nominee’s home department) who can speak to mentoring of students and the impact of their national reputation on their teaching (so they should write only if they can comment on this).
  • Letters from former students detailing what that person has given to their career.
  • Teaching evaluations from graduate courses.
  • A current curriculum vitae of the nominee.
  • A complete list of all advisees and their relevant positions.
  • A list of awards won by students, whether at SU or from funding agencies or others (internships, dissertation grants and the like).

All nominations will be considered active for two years from the date of submission. The Selection Committee is part of the College’s Committee on Instruction, which is appointed by the Dean of the College with the advice of the Faculty Council. The decision will be reached by mid-April, and the award will be made before the end of the spring semester. The award ceremony will be a public occasion hosted by the College and the recipient’s home department, to which graduate students and faculty members are invited. In addition, there will be a public announcement of the award.

Recipients of the William Wasserstrom Prize for Outstanding Graduate Teaching

  • Jean Howard – English 1986
  • Meredith Lillich – Fine Arts 1987
  • W.D. Russell-Hunter – Biology 1988
  • Ernest Muller – Geology 1989
  • David Tatham – Fine Arts 1990
  • Aiyalam Balachandran – Physics/Jerry Kelly – Economics 1991
  • Abhay Ashtekar – Physics 1992
  • Barry Bozeman – Public Administration 1993
  • Michael Wasylenko – Economics 1994
  • John Agnew – Geography 1995
  • James Coleman – Biology 1996
  • Henry T. Mullins – Earth Sciences 1997
  • H. Richard Levy – Biology 1998
  • David Robinson – Geography 1999
  • Michael Carey – Psychology 2000
  • Joseph Schechter – Physics 2001
  • Tadeusz Iwaniec – Mathematics 2002
  • Donald Siegel – Earth Sciences 2003
  • Susan Wadley – Anthropology 2004
  • Gary Radke – Fine Arts 2005
  • Christopher DeCorse – Anthropology 2006
  • Kate B. Carey – Psychology 2007
  • Donald Mitchell – Geography 2008
  • Mark Bowick – Physics 2009
  • John Yinger – Public Administration and Economics 2010
  • John Burdick – Anthropology 2011
  • Scott D. Samson – Earth Sciences 2012
  • Jon Zubieta – Chemistry 2013
  • Douglas Armstrong – Anthropology 2014
  • Lois Agnew – Writing 2015
  • Ramesh Raina – Biology 2016
  • Margaret Hermann – Political Science2017
  • David Popp – Public Adminstration and International Affairs 2018