Each year, the faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges honor three of their own with faculty awards in teaching, scholarship and community service.
Most recently, Assistant Professor of Philosophy Carol Oberbrunner, Professor of Media & Society Lester Friedman, and Professor of Women’s Studies Betty Bayer were recognized by their peers for their exemplary service at HWS.
Provost Teresa Amott presided over an award ceremony at the last faculty meeting in May, where Oberbrunner – who joined the faculty in 1999, earned a Ph.D. from Syracuse, an M.A. from Michigan and a B.A. from Swarthmore – received this year’s Faculty Teaching Award.
“There were 22 students in the current graduating Classes elected to Phi Beta Kappa. The odds that three of these exceptional students would have been in a particular first year seminar four years ago is about one in 70. This year’s recipient of the faculty teaching award taught that particular seminar,” said Amott while presenting the award. “The presence of these three students in her class might have been mere chance, but, given the teaching ability and commitment of this year’s recipient, it is clear that there was also outstanding teaching at work.”
This year’s recipient of the Faculty Scholarship Award, Friedman joined the faculty in 2005, having taught at Syracuse University Upstate Medical Center and Northwestern University. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Syracuse University and his B.A. from Alfred University. His recent work includes “Citizen Spielberg” (University of Illinois Press, 2006), “Fires Were Started” (Wallflower Press, 2006), “American Cinema of the 1970s” (Rutgers University Press, 2006) and “Cultural Sutures: Medicine and Media” (Duke University Press, 2004). Friedman is also a member of the Society for Cinema & Media Studies and the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities.
Between Margaret Thatcher and Peter Pan, Steven Spielberg and Bonnie and Clyde, “what intellectual sutures could stitch these together into a seamless body of scholarly work?” asked Amott at the award ceremony. “Naturally, our award winner began his scholarly life with a doctorate in English literature. Why ‘naturally’? Because it is in the critical study of literature that the flexible mind-and in our scholar today we have indeed a flexible mind-is suited for finding the otherwise recondite webs of meaning which tie together the apparently unlike.”
Bayer, who received the Faculty Teaching Award in 2004, was awarded the 2009 Faculty Award for Community Service. She earned her Ph.D., M.A. and B.A. in psychology from Carleton University. Serving the Colleges in the Women’s Studies Program since 1992, Bayer routinely teaches the Women Studies Senior Seminar, Introduction to Women’s Studies, Peace, Research in Social Psychology and Psychology of Women. She has served as the chair of the Women Studies Program since 2001 and directed the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men from 2002 to 2009. Recent publications include “Wonder in a World of Struggle” (Subjectivity), and “On Cultural History as Transformation-or, What’s the Matter with Psychology Anyway?” Bayer also co-edited “Challenges to Theoretical Psychology” and “Reconstructing the Psychological Subject: Bodies, Practices and Technologies,” and has an upcoming book, titled “Threshold of Revelation: When Prophecy Fails, Psychology and Spirituality.” She has served on the editorial boards of the journals International Journal of Critical Psychology, Theory & Psychology, The History of Psychology and Psychology and Sexuality and has given dozens of conference presentations internationally.
As the nomination letter cites: “If this Betty Bayer had a secret ability, it would be the super power of exploration, for she is a true explorer. An intrepid leader, she traces the boundaries then redefines them in order to stay true to herself, her students and colleagues. For this explorer, teaching, scholarship and life are seamlessly interwoven so that service is deeply intellectual. For this explorer, community service is no longer dismissed because it is gendered, but, instead, is raised up because it is activist and transformative. The contribution that has made to the educations of students, predoctoral fellows, and family members has gone beyond a simple mentoring relationship-it’s the embodiment of community service.”