December 1, 2003
Humanities teaching award presented at Merrill
College 35th anniversary celebration
By Scott Rappaport
History professor Gail Hershatter was presented with the 2003 John Dizikes
Teaching Award in Humanities at a reception celebrating the 35th anniversary
of Merrill College held on November 18.
Humanities award winners Gail Hershatter and Joshua Townsend,
with professor emeritus of American studies John Dizikes at the
Merrill College 35th anniversary celebration Photo:
Established last year by the Humanities Division to honor outstanding
teaching by humanities faculty, the award was named in honor of one
of UCSCs founding faculty members.
I was startled and more than normally overwhelmed to win this
award, Hershatter noted. I am grateful to be named in the
teaching tradition of John Dizikes--whom I admire and respect--and I
am grateful that this award has been established in his name by the
Dizikes, a professor emeritus of American studies, began his tenure
at UCSC in 1965. He received the Alumni Associations Distinguished
Teaching Award, served as Cowell College provost, and mentored thousands
of students during his 30-year teaching career.
The annual humanities teaching award comes with an unusual provision.
In addition to being honored with a check for $3,000, the winner is
entitled to select one undergraduate student to receive a $3,000 scholarship.
Hershatter chose Joshua Townsend, a student in two of her Chinese history
courses last year. He particularly impressed her after she assigned
him the role of Emperor of China in a two-week historical simulation
that recreated the Quing dynasty.
Joshua jumped into the material--he was intensely curious, willing
to put in the work, and full of questions, Hershatter said. I
commend him for his energy, enthusiasm, and curiosity, and I am sure
that he will make good use of his scholarship.
Townsend, a 20-year-old junior at Cowell College, said he planned to
use the scholarship funds to pay for next years tuition. Hershatter
had a similar plan for her award. Ill probably use it to
pay my daughters college tuition bill, she said. Its
all going back into education.
Specializing in modern Chinese social and cultural history, Hershatter
has been teaching at UCSC since 1991. A fellow of Merrill College, she
also serves as director of the UCSC Institute for Humanities Research.
Hershatters award was presented to her at the Merrill Provosts
House by John Dizikes himself, after a brief introduction by Humanities
Division Dean Wlad Godzich. Merrill Provost John Schechter then approached
the podium to announce some special guests.
We have, remarkably, a profusion of provosts, Schechter
observed as he introduced four of his predecessors--John Marcum, Michael
Cowan, George Von der Muhll, and John Isbister--who each offered a few
remarks on the 35th anniversary of the college.
Schechter concluded the event by speaking about the current state of
Merrill, noting that the college still remains concerned with three
main themes: poverty, marginalized peoples and their cultures,
and the centrality and consequence of individual commitment to a worthy
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