Geneva, NY – Each year, the faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges honor three of their own with faculty prizes in teaching, scholarship, and community service. It is an honor bestowed for efforts in those areas above and beyond already high expectations. This year's recipients are Marilyn Jimenez, for community service; Deborah Tall for scholarship, and John Vaughn for teaching.
Jimenez, associate professor of modern languages, received the award for community service largely for her years of service to the Hobart and William Smith community. Colleagues noted her devotion to the institution, evidenced by a litany of committee work on campus, including faculty search committees and tenure review committees, as well as her contribution to service learning initiatives, participation in curriculum discussions, consultation with the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men, and representation to alumni and alumnae groups. She is also credited with adding to the vibrancy of the campus by inviting artists and scholars to campus. Her most valuable service, perhaps, comes from the way in which she mentors minority students and faculty. The citation presented to her at the faculty meeting notes that “She has made that critical connection with so many students, that connection that turns Hobart and William Smith Colleges from an institution into a home.” Jimenez and her family reside in Waterloo.
Tall, who received the award for scholarship, is a professor of English and an accomplished writer of poetry and creative nonfiction. Her most recent book of poems, Summons, was published last fall after having been awarded the prestigious 1999 Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry. Summons, which spans nearly fifteen years of writing, can be seen as a continuation by poetic means of Tall's scholarly work of nonfiction prose, From Where We Stand: Recovering a Sense of Place. That book gave consideration to the ways in which where we live affects how we live. Summons continues to address this conundrum, full of poems which strive to re-conjure and repossess the vital elements that have been displaced from our lives, and to summon them back into full presence. In all, Tall has written six books of original prose and poetry and edited several other works, including 35 issues of the Colleges' literary magazine, The Seneca Review. The citation Tall received credits her with being “an original writer who is pointing the way to a revitalized conception of poetic form through restoring to language its densities, its suggestiveness, and its rich polysemous pleasures.” Tall and her husband, Hobart and William Smith English professor David Weiss, live in Ithaca with their daughters Zoe and Clea.
The Faculty Prize for teaching was awarded to John Vaughn, a resident of Geneva, who has taught math and computer science at the Colleges since 1985. Vaughn has established a reputation for innovative and inventive teaching that takes him and his students into what is often barely charted territory. In his classes, students have built telescopes, constructed buildings, made documentaries, and confronted the deep meaning of evolution. He is credited with setting standards of the highest order for both himself and his students, and with continually seeking out new ideas to explore and engendering that same spirit in those who take his classes. His citation reads, in part, “All this teaching, so hands-on and tangible, comes from a man trained in mathematical logic, one of the most abstract and conservative of mathematical disciplines. He is the kind of professor whose insights and initiative make him a role model for students and faculty alike.” Vaughn's wife, Kathryn, is the slide librarian at the Colleges.
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