News | Academics

10 faculty members win Lenfest Distinguished Teaching Awards

Ten faculty members were named recipients of this year’s Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Awards.

The awards were created in 2004 by University Trustee emeritus Gerry Lenfest, Law ’58, Hon. ’09, and Nicholas Dirks, then-executive vice president for the Arts and Sciences, to acknowledge exemplary teaching.

The winners were history professor Christine Philliou, CC ’94; English and comparative literature professor Erik Gray; biology and chemistry professor Brent Stockwell, French professor Joanna Stalnaker; psychology professor Valerie Purdie-Vaughns, CC ’93; earth and environmental sciences professor Peter Kelemen; art and archeology professor Ioannis Mylonopoulos; biology professor Rafael Yuste; history professor Elizabeth Blackmar; and political science department chair Virginia Page Fortna. 

This year’s winners, announced in a press release on Friday, will receive $25,000 each, made possible by Lenfest’s $12 million donation. The winners were either nominated by students or their department chairs.

Philliou came to Columbia in 2006, and specializes in post-16th century history of the Middle East, the Ottoman Empire, and the post-Ottoman Balkans. She has taught history courses on Turkey and the Ottoman Empire, and is teaching a comparative literature course on Greece this semester.

Gray, who joined Columbia’s faculty in 2004, teaches Romantic and Victorian poetry and is currently researching the development of Western love poetry.

Stockwell, a faculty member since 2004 who also chairs Provost John Coatsworth’s Faculty Advisory Committee, teaches a biochemistry course on the structure and metabolism of proteins. His research focuses on proteins that cannot be treated with drugs.

Stalnaker, who joined Columbia’s French department in 2002, teaches French literature courses on Rousseau and the Enlightenment. She also directs the Master’s in History and Literature program and the Master’s in Global French Studies, housed at Columbia’s Paris global center. 

Yuste, who focuses his research on pathological brains process and neural activities, teaches undergraduate courses on brain circuits. He came to Columbia in 1996 and also serves as the co-director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science. 

Purdie-Vaughns returned to her alma mater in 2009 and teaches social psychology courses. She is interested in the relationship between behavior and the experiences of minority groups. 

Kelemen, who teaches courses on sustainable development and earth resources, came to Columbia in 2004. His research on the mineral composition of the earth’s crust has taken him to India, Alaska, and Greenland.

Fortna, who joined the political science department in 1999, teaches international politics and courses about the effects of the termination of war—the focus of her research. She is also a member of the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. 

Blackmar has been teaching at Columbia since 1983 and is known for her history lecture course, Making of the Modern American landscape. Blackmar also holds workshops to graduate students to prepare them for professional jobs in history.

maia.bix@columbiaspectator.com  |  @MaiaClay4

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