Mead Endowment dinner honors 12 University professors
Award provides funding to promote student-teacher interaction
Twelve University faculty members were honored Saturday evening as new participants in the Mead Endowment Program, an initiative designed to help connect students and professors beyond the traditional classroom experience.
The Mead Endowment was originally formed in honor of Ernest “Boots” Mead to commemorate his commitment to teaching and his personal connections with his students.
“We wanted to help pass on the torch from faculty members like Mr. Mead to the next generation of up-and-coming faculty,” Endowment chair Tom Darbyshire said. “This is part of what being a successful honored faculty member at Virginia is all about. It’s not just publishing and not just giving great lectures from behind a podium, but taking an interest in the students after classroom hours are over.”
This year, University deans chose nine professors from the College and one professor each from the Darden School, the Engineering School and the Commerce School to participate in the program: Assoc. Physics Prof. Stefan Baessler; Assoc. Commerce Prof. Brad Brown,; Griffith Chaussée, a lecturer in Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures; Asst. Biology Prof. Christopher Deppmann; Asst. Anthropology Prof. Lise Dobrin; Assoc. Engineering Prof. Jim Fitz-Gerald; Assoc. History Prof. Claudrena Harold; Asst. Mathematics Prof. Tai Melcher,; Assoc. Music Prof. Joel E. Rubin; Asst. Politics Prof. Jennifer Rubenstein; Assoc. Darden Prof. Paul J. Simko; and Drama lecturer Steven Warner.
Honorees are asked to submit a “Dream Idea” proposal as part of the program, a reflection of Mead’s small seminars and organization of activities outside of class hours. Mead has been directing similar programs since the late 1970s.
“We provide funding for faculty members to do really cool projects to allow them to interact with students in ways beyond the classroom,” Darbyshire said. “And they are always very creative and very interesting.”