Three Hobart and William Smith faculty were recently recognized by their colleagues for their work as scholars, community leaders and educators. Based on the recommendations of fellow HWS faculty, the Committee on Faculty Research and Honors recognized Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science David Eck, who received the faculty prize for teaching; Associate Professor of Economics Judith R. McKinney, who was honored with the faculty prize for community service; and Professor of Chemistry Erin Pelkey, who was awarded the faculty prize for research.
Eck has taught more than 40 mathematics, computer science and general education courses and supervised dozens of Honors projects and independent studies in his more than 30 years at the Colleges. He has repeatedly learned new computer languages to stay current with the field and has authored several highly regarded textbooks currently in use at institutions around the world — all of which are available online for free.
“[Professor Eck] always seems to find a way to provide the key insight to help others unlock [an] idea for themselves; [his] sole motivation for teaching is to make a difference and help students learn. He truly cares about his students and does everything he can to help them,” his citation notes.
Prior to joining the HWS faculty in 1986, Eck taught at Dartmouth College and the State University of New York at Buffalo. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from Brandeis University.
An HWS faculty member since 1979, McKinney has taught courses on international trade, the Russian economy and the economics of immigration. At the time of her hiring, she was the only woman in the Economics Department. She has been a mainstay in the Russian Area Studies Program since the mid-1980s and later went on to help overhaul the international relations major into its present form. She also chaired the Individual Majors committee for many years, was active in the Colleges’ chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, and served on a number of ad hoc committees.
Her prize citation remarks upon the “depth and reliability of [McKinney’s] institutional memory, integrity, ability to be the voice of reason, steadfast mentorship and extraordinary collegiality” and further describes her as “an astute observer” known for “welcoming people into the HWS community and giving support to those who are already here.”
McKinney holds a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College and a master’s and Ph.D. from Indiana University. She retires this year after 40 years of service to the Colleges.
Since his arrival at the Colleges in 2001, Pelkey has had “nearly continuous research funding from national sources,” including the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health, raising more than $500,000. He also collaborates with colleagues to raise funds for curricular and pedagogic projects.
His citation notes that he “publishes steadily in respected, peer-reviewed journals,” including five in the past five years and 20 scholarly book chapters. He “mentors large numbers of students by including them in his research projects;” more than 30 Hobart and William Smith students have been co-authors on his peer-reviewed papers, and “he and his students have presented a total of 55 papers at regional and national conferences.”
Pelkey earned a bachelor’s in chemistry from Carleton College and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Dartmouth University.