Recognizing excellence in teaching and service

At the faculty welcome reception held Sept. 12, Dean Barbara Schaal presented the annual Arts & Sciences faculty awards. This year's awardees were Megan Daschbach, Janet Duchek, John Shareshian, and Lynne Tatlock.

This year's faculty award winners (from left to right): John Shareshian, Lynne Tatlock, Dean Schaal, Janet Duchek, and Megan Daschbach.

Dean Schaal established both the Distinguished Teaching Award and the Faculty Leadership Award in 2014 as a way to recognize exceptional commitment to Arts & Sciences and its students. The David Hadas Teaching Award, which recognizes excellence in teaching first-year undergraduates, was also presented.

The David Hadas Teaching Award

Janet Duchek, Associate Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences

Duchek has taught a variety of courses in psychological and brain sciences, but most frequently she teaches the "Introduction to Psychology" course, which usually holds hundreds of first-year students. She also organizes the Mind Brain and Behavior (MBB) program for first-years, and serves as the director of Cornerstone. In recent course evaluations, her students praised her, saying "Professor Duchek was extremely engaging, hilarious and always made the material interesting. She also made sure to allow people to ask questions and participate despite the size of the class. I always enjoy going to Psychology because of her." In her accepting remarks, Duchek said that teaching brings joy to her life and is her reason for getting out of bed in the morning, especially following the recent death of her son. She thanked her colleagues, her husband, and Pamela Hadas. Hadas, who created the award in 2008 in honor of her husband, was in attendance at the event. 


The Arts & Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award

Megan Daschbach, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry and Director of the Chemistry Peer-Led Team-Learning Program

Daschbach joined the chemistry department in 2011, and as the director of the Chemistry Peer-Led Team-Learning Program, has seen applications for these positions triple under her leadership. In her nomination letters, her colleagues described her invaluable contributions to general chemistry and the department at large: "Megan is a rock star of lower-level STEM education at the University... Her teaching persona combines comedy, rigor, excellent communication, and sincere compassion for students. Megan is deeply integrated into the fabric and missions of the University, with significant contributions in academics and teaching, mentorship, residential life, instructional pedagogy, and support programs. Megan is unquestionably the leader of the general-chemistry team at the University. That she has made such impact and such achievements so early in her professional career is truly remarkable."

John Shareshian, Professor of Mathematics and Statistics

Serving as a professor and director of undergraduate studies in mathematics and statistics, Shareshian is committed to the education of undergraduate and especially first-year students. His students recognize his dedication and commitment to their success. As one student put it: “Professor John Shareshian enables and equips students to perform to the best of their ability, having their health and well-being in mind. He encourages instead of reprimanding, and runs alongside his students, being a down-to-earth source of support and kindness. He is the best teacher I have ever had, and the only other teacher that I would compare him to was a teacher I had in high school who we called ‘Coach-Dad.'”


The Arts & Sciences Faculty Leadership Award

Lynne Tatlock, the Hortense and Tobias Lewin Distinguished Professor in the Humanities and Director of Comparative Literature

Since she joined WashU in 1981, Tatlock has held multiple leadership appointments in Arts & Sciences. She chaired Germanic Languages and Literatures from 1992-1997 and again from 2002-2003. In 2002, she was named the Hortense and Tobias Lewin Distinguished Professor in the Humanities. Since 2007, she's also held an appointment in the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. In 2010, she was appointed director of Comparative Literature. She has served on the Arts & Sciences faculty council three times, was a member of the Academic Planning Committee from 2002-2007, has been a member of the Selection Committee for the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities and Social Sciences since 2000, and has served on search committees for faculty and chairs at least 13 times in her career. Tatlock has won many awards over her career, including the Teaching Award from the Council of Students in Arts & Sciences, a collaborative grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and has been a three-time recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award from the Graduate Student Senate of Arts & Sciences.