University honors faculty members for exemplary teaching, mentoring of graduate students

Every year, the University honors members of the faculty who exhibit exemplary teaching and mentoring to graduate students with the Faculty Awards for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring.


The winners are nominated by their students and their department or program chair, and are chosen by a committee that includes Deborah Nelson, deputy provost for graduate education, previous recipients of the award, and William Rando, director of the Chicago Center for Teaching.

“The recommendations for this year’s winners attested to and praised the wide-ranging breadth and penetrating depth of their classes, their unselfish commitment of time in advising and mentoring students, and their enthusiasm both for their own work and for the work of their students,” Nelson said.

At spring convocation, the Faculty Awards for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring are bestowed during the ceremonies of the winners’ academic departments.

“Given the great importance we place upon teaching at the University, we are pleased to recognize the outstanding contributions of our faculty in this way,” Nelson said. 

“We are truly grateful for their important contribution to our intellectual community,” she said.

Faculty Awards for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring


Leora Auslander is a professor of modern European social history, a member of the Center for Jewish Studies and the founding director of the Center for Gender Studies. A member of the History faculty since 1987, she is a past chair of the department’s Graduate Student Affairs Committee and current chair of the undergraduate program. This service reflects her long-standing engagement with both graduate and undergraduate education and mentoring. Auslander's research agenda focuses on the intersection of everyday life, culture and politics. Her most recent book, Cultural Revolutions, addresses these questions during the Age of Revolution in Britain, North America and France. She is co-editing a special issue of the French gender history journal, Clio, entitled “Making Gender with Things,” which will be out in the fall. She currently is working on three book projects: The Paradoxes of Modern Citizenship: Everyday Life in Paris and Berlin, 1910–1960; Commemorating Death, Obscuring Life? The Conundrums of Memorialization; and Race and Racism in the Twentieth Century Atlantic World (with Prof. Thomas Holt).


Susan Gal centers her research on language, politics and gender, with a focus on social transformations in Eastern Europe. She is the Mae and Sidney G. Metzl Distinguished Service Professor in Anthropology and Linguistics, where she has taught since 1994. She is also a founding member of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. Having published widely on the political economy of language, she continues ethnographic work in Europe, exploring the relationship between linguistic practices, semiotic processes and the construction of social life. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Author of Language Shift, she is also co-author of The Politics of Gender after Socialism and editor of “Gender and Circulation,” East European Politics and Societies.


Aden Kumler is an associate professor in Art History and the College and the faculty co-sponsor of the University of Chicago Medieval Studies Workshop. Her teaching and research focuses on European art of the Middle Ages, with a special emphasis on illuminated manuscripts and medieval material culture. Her first book, Translating Truth: Ambitious Images and Religious Knowledge in Late Medieval France and England (Yale University Press, 2011), examined how paintings transformed ideas of spiritual excellence and expertise for elite lay men and women in the Gothic era. Her current book project, The Multiplication of the Species: Medieval Economies of Form, Accident and Substance, focuses on coins, wax seals and Eucharistic wafers as conceptually challenging objects made in multiples by mechanical means in the Middle Ages. Kumler, AB’96, received the Quantrell Award for undergraduate teaching last year.


Patchen Markell is an associate professor of political science. In his 15 years at UChicago, he has taken advantage of the flexibility of the graduate curriculum to explore new areas with his students, from post-Hegelian philosophy, to the development of democratic theory during the Cold War, to the intersection of politics and aesthetics. His research interests also have been transformed by the experience of serving as dissertation advisor for 20 PhD candidates, and by serving on numerous other thesis committees. Markell's work as a political theorist focuses on the nature and conditions of political action, including particularly the connections between action and the experiences of exposure, affectedness and vulnerability; and on the relation of action to the reproduction and transformation of relationships of hierarchy and domination. His book, Bound by Recognition, brings readings of Hegel, Greek tragedy and the history of Jewish emancipation to bear on recent debates about the politics of identity—it won the Foundations of Political Theory First Book Award. His more recent work on Hannah Arendt’s political thought earned Markell a yearlong membership at the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.


David Mazziotti, professor in chemistry, has received both the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Award this year. Ten students have completed their PhDs under Mazziotti’s mentorship since he joined the faculty in 2002. Seven undergraduates who were members of his research group also have completed their studies during this period. He regularly teaches general and honors chemistry, physical chemistry, and advanced quantum mechanics. A theoretician, Mazziotti has pioneered advances in many-electron quantum mechanics that permits scientists to predict more efficiently and accurately the dynamic behavior of electrons in atoms and molecules that govern a wide range of phenomena from chemical reactions to materials. Mazziotti’s honors include the Microsoft Newton Award, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a Packard Foundation Fellowship for Science and Engineering, the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and a Dreyfus New Faculty Award.