The College of Arts & Sciences annually honors faculty members for excellence in teaching and advising. Among the faculty members and teaching assistants being recognized for exceptional teaching and mentorship this year are: Emily Fridlund, recipient of the 2023 Robert and Helen Appel Fellowship for Humanists and Social Scientists; Kendra Bischoff, recipient of the 2023 Robert A. and Donna B. Paul Award for Excellence in Advising; and Amy Krosch, recipient of the 2023 Morgan Chia-Wen Sze and Bobbi Josephine Hernandez Distinguished Teaching Prize.
“Helping students realize their greatest potential is at the core of our mission in the College of Arts and Sciences. The outstanding faculty members and teaching assistants honored this year have demonstrated tremendous expertise, innovation and dedication in instructing and encouraging our students,” said Ray Jayawardhana, the Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We are delighted to honor the commitment and effectiveness of the award winners, and we are immensely grateful to the alumni whose forethought and generosity makes these important recognitions possible.”
The Robert and Helen Appel Fellowship has recognized faculty excellence since 1995 and gives recipients a semester’s study leave at full salary to write, develop new courses, conduct research or otherwise enrich their teaching and scholarship.
Fridlund, assistant professor of literatures in English, is a novelist and short story writer who has received national and international attention for her fiction and accolades for her stunning record as a teacher. Her first novel, “History of Wolves,” was a finalist for the 2017 Man Booker Prize, the Dublin IMPAC Prize and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, and also won the American Academy of Arts and Letters Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, as well as other honors. Her debut collection of stories, “Catapult,” won the Mary McCarthy Prize. Students find Fridlund’s excitement about the material contagious and her approach to discussion generous, inclusive and inspiring. “She would spark the discussion with a question, and a chorus of voices would answer,” one student wrote. Faculty in her department praise Fridlund for challenging established models of creative writing pedagogy and fostering a questioning relationship to literary tradition in her students, enabling individualized expression and experimentation. Said one undergraduate student: “Not only did she make me a better writer but she made me believe that I was one.” Creative writing graduate students note her kindness, compassion and community orientation in teaching and mentoring: one graduate student remarked, “Her influence is a heartbeat throughout this MFA program and is alive in every student she’s taught.”
The Robert A. and Donna B. Paul Academic Advising Award was established in 1992 to honor undergraduate advisers who make a difference in the lives of their students. Recipients receive one-half an academic year’s salary and fringe benefits for a leave that is taken within the next three years.
Bischoff, associate professor of sociology, researches the intersection of neighborhoods and schools, studying the patterns, causes and consequences of racial and socioeconomic residential segregation and examining the relationship between elementary and secondary school enrollment decisions and neighborhood contexts. As a teacher and advisor, she has demonstrated a deep interest in preparing students to achieve their full potential. In her 11 years at Cornell, Bischoff has taught over 1,900 students in 23 courses, as well as guiding numerous students through independent studies and advising 13 senior honors theses. Seven students have been awarded writing prizes from Cornell’s Knight Institute for research papers written in Bischoff’s Writing in the Majors course since 2014, and many of the students with whom Bischoff has worked closely have gone on to graduate studies at peer institutions. She has also mentored Mellon Mays Undergraduate Research Fellowship program students, Rawlings fellows, and College Scholar students. Her department chair says she performed brilliantly as director of undergraduate studies for three years (2018-2021). Bischoff played a leadership role in the creation of a new sociology multi-college “super-department” by helping to update the undergraduate curriculum and draft new policies pertaining to mentoring. In myriad ways, Bischoff has been pivotal in developing students’ interest in social sciences; as one student pointed out, “Professor Bischoff is a remarkable instructor and mentor who inspired me to pursue sociology.”
The Morgan Chia-Wen Sze and Bobbi Josephine Hernandez Distinguished Teaching Prize, first awarded in 2018, honors faculty members for excellence in teaching. Honorees are encouraged to use a portion of the $25,000 award to travel anywhere in the world of interest to them and, through that travel, to “bring the world back to Cornell.”
Krosch, assistant professor of psychology, focuses on how social and economic threats amplify discrimination and spread inequality through individual-level stereotypes, attitudes, perceptions and decisions. An innovative and dedicated teacher, Krosch introduces students to basic methods and cutting-edge research in social recognition and social cognitive neuroscience. In her courses, the psychology department chair said, Krosch covers topics directly relevant to real-life situations that have bearing on some of the most challenging problems faces by our society. Her assignments require critical thinking and creativity more than following instructions or memorizing material, and students say they find discussions in Krosch’s classrooms engaging and enlightening. The courses help participants to “recognize prejudice within ourselves, but then give solutions on how to combat it,” one student said. To further her research, Krosch received Cornell Center for Social Science grants in 2017, 2020 and 2023, a Cornell Center for Social Science Faculty Fellowship in 2020, Cornell MRI Facility Awards in 2021 and 2022, and an NSF Grant in 2020. She received the Stephen and Margery Russell Distinguished Teaching Award in 2022. In 2018 the Association for Psychological Science named Krosch a Rising Star in recognition of her innovative work already advancing the field, and in 2022 she was inducted as a fellow into the Society for Experimental Social Psychology. With the Sze-Hernandez Award, Krosch hopes to collaborate with researchers around the world examining how ecological shocks influence intergroup relations in real-world contexts.
Other 2023 College of Arts and Sciences honors:
The Stephen and Margery Russell Distinguished Teaching Award went to faculty members Jared Maxson, the Joyce A. Yelencsics Rosevear ’65 and Frederick M. Rosevear ’64 Assistant Professor of physics; Nick Salvato, professor of performing and media arts; and Elisávet Makridis, lecturer in literatures in English. Teaching assistants receiving the 2023 Stephen and Margery Russell Distinguished Teaching Award are: Ronald Jerozal, chemistry and chemical biology; Kelley Slimon, ecology and evolutionary biology; and Mark Walth, mathematics.
- The Deanne Gebell Gitner ’66 and Family Annual Prize for Teaching Assistants went to graduate students Oona Cullen, literatures in English; Julia Nolte, psychology; Peter Shipman, literatures in English; Cameron Tardif, history; and Alice Wolff, Medieval studies program.
- The Sophie Washburn French Instructorship went to Maria Theresa Savella, senior lecturer of Tagalog in the Department of Asian Studies; and Shalom Shoer, senior lecturer of Hebrew language in the Department of Near Eastern Studies.
- The Zhu Family Graduate Fellowship went to graduate students John Eagle, music; Sarah LaVoy-Brunette, Medieval studies; Andre Nascimento, Romance studies; and Chijioke Onah, literatures in English.