Section: EMC2 News

Six Faculty Honored with Weiss Teaching Awards

October 20th, 2017 ›


Six Cornell faculty members have been recognized by the university for excellence in their teaching of undergraduate students and contributions to undergraduate education.

The newest recipients of Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellowships are Tomas Arias, professor of physics; Antonio DiTommaso, professor of soil and crop sciences; and Gerald Feigenson, professor of molecular biology and genetics.

Thomas Cleland, associate professor of psychology, was named a Weiss Junior Fellow, an honor given to recently tenured associate professors for excellence in teaching and notable scholarship. Stuart Davis, senior lecturer in English, and Bruce Monger, senior lecturer in earth and atmospheric sciences, received Weiss Provost's Teaching Fellowships, presented to nontenure-track faculty who have demonstrated a commitment to extraordinary teaching. These two awards were established in 2016.

The fellowship awards were announced by President Martha E. Pollack Oct. 20 at a meeting of the Cornell University Board of Trustees. The award winners are chosen by a selection committee comprising emeritus faculty, current Weiss fellows and undergraduate students.

Tomás Arias
"These are among Cornell's highest honors for outstanding, exemplary teachers," Pollack said. "The committee reviewed thousands of pages of material and engaged in spirited discussions to identify deserving candidates. I was pleased to accept the selection committee's choices, and commend their commitment and diligence in putting forward truly outstanding candidates."

Established in 1992, the Weiss Presidential Fellowship was conceived by the late Stephen H. Weiss '57, chairman emeritus of the board of trustees, to recognize tenured Cornell faculty members for teaching and mentoring undergraduates. In addition to a respected scholarly career, the recipients have sustained records of effective, inspiring and distinguished teaching and contributions to undergraduate education.

Arias joined the faculty in 1999 and was named a full professor in 2005. He led a team of physics faculty who used physics education research to transform three core physics courses, an effort resulting in students "learning more, better and more deeply than ever before, and enjoying the experience," the committee noted. He and his colleagues pioneered a flipped classroom model that now reaches hundreds of students every year and has inspired other physics faculty.

His students have given him among the highest ratings in his department for five years in a row and describe him as a fantastic lecturer - clear, well-organized and passionate about teaching. He is known for his ability to explain difficult topics clearly and to teach students how to solve problems methodically and creatively.

"The breadth, depth, creativity, excellence, reach and impact of Professor Arias' teaching over his 18-year career at Cornell has been extraordinary," the committee stated.

Click here to view full article with all honorees.

Story Contacts

Daniel Aloi