Two UO faculty members known for innovative teaching and their ability to inspire fellow faculty and students are this year’s recipients of the UO’s Williams Fellowships.
The 2016 awards go to Elly Vandegrift, associate director of the UO Science Literacy Program and a senior instructor in biology, and Daniel HoSang, an associate professor of ethnic studies and political science. Williams Fellowships honor faculty members whose work elevates undergraduate education.
Widely recognized for helping transform science instruction on campus, Vandegrift has spearheaded efforts to promote science teaching for nonscience majors by integrating evidence-based active learning into general education science courses across biology, chemistry and biochemistry, geological sciences, human physiology and physics. Through the Science Literacy Program, she has trained and mentored more than 100 faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students in science education best practices.
Vandegrift also co-runs the popular Science Teaching Journal Club, which allows students and faculty to discuss science instruction reform through contemporary literature, and she has been instrumental in recruiting national leaders in science education to visit the UO. Vandegrift has also amplified UO’s voice in the global conversation on science education and science literacy by collaborating with other institutions, speaking at conferences and hosting workshops at notable institutions like the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.
“Elly has had a transformative impact on the landscape and ‘culture’ of science teaching at UO,” said professors Judith Eisen, Michael Raymer and Raghuveer Parthasarathy in their nomination letter.
Other colleagues highlight her energetic and engaging teaching style, citing her “illuminating and effective” approach to teaching and lauding her classroom instruction for being an “exemplar of interdisciplinary, discovery-driven teaching that should be adopted as the best practices for science education on our campus.”
Known for his ability to “mobilize resources across multiple schools and departments”, HoSang is praised for being a skilled and engaging educator by both his colleagues and his students. He led the charge for the Justice, Difference, and Inequality course cluster and has redesigned and created numerous classes, including the Hip Hop and the Politics of Race First-Year Interest Group, which uses hip-hop and rap music to offer insights into race, gender and sexuality and has earned a reputation as one of the “most popular and effective” interest groups.
“Professor HoSang’s lectures are consistently fun, intellectually challenging and original,” said Loren Kajikawa, associate professor in the School of Music and Dance.
In addition to being a skilled educator, HoSang is also known for his impressive accomplishments and reputation as a scholar. With more than a dozen notable publications, he’s recognized as a leader in American studies, critical race studies, ethnic studies, history and political science.
He is also known for his ability to secure interdisciplinary academic opportunities for students and faculty. HoSang has brought many lecturers, conferences and even a Grammy-award winning band to Eugene to enhance the educational offerings at the UO.
“The diversity and number of high-quality events that professor HoSang has brought to campus is truly breathtaking,” Kajikawa said.
The Williams program awards $5,000 to each recipient and $5,000 to their department to bolster the learning experience of undergraduates. The recipients are selected by a presidential advisory group comprised of faculty who have been recognized as “some of the university’s best teachers.”
The Williams Fellowships were established by the Tom and Carol Williams Fund for Undergraduate Education to recognize and support exceptional and collaborative professors. Williams Fellows are known for their commitment to undergraduate education and for their inventive and interdisciplinary approach to teaching.
—By Emily Halnon, University Communications