2006 Recipients of the McCormick and Alumnæ Teaching Professorships
Prior to joining Northwestern in 1993, Edward Muir taught at Louisiana State and Syracuse University. Among the most respected Renaissance scholars in North America, Muir is a leading historian and an inspiring and beloved teacher. Known for his rigorous and extensive reading lists, passionate classroom discussion and lecturing style, and accessibility, Muir inspires students to stretch themselves to their highest ability. Reflecting on Muir’s “Age of the Renaissance” course, one student noted, “the course had a permanent impact on my intellectual development … [Professor Muir] is deservedly one of the best loved history professors.” Muir regularly receives effusive and substantive praise in CTEC evaluations, often from students who remark on the heavy reading load and challenging nature of his courses. Muir exhibits broad and genuine concern for the academic and personal well being of his students, and Northwestern more broadly. A colleague said, “Muir isn’t merely a leading historian of the Renaissance; he is the embodiment of the Renaissance ideal. A true polymath, he excels in every area: scholarship, undergraduate teaching, graduate training and service to the department, college, and university.”
Muir has received a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, and more than a dozen other research fellowships. He is the author, co-author or editor of nine books and an extensive array of scholarly articles. He has received the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize from the American Historical Association for the best first book on European history; has twice received the Howard R. Marraro Prize in Italian History for the best book on Italian history. He has been awarded the Alumni of Northwestern Excellence in Teaching Award and the E. Leroy Hall Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Weinberg College.
Before joining the Northwest-ern faculty in the department of industrial engineering and management sciences in 1995, Barry Nelson taught at The Ohio State University.
His specialty is stochastic models and computer simulation. Though the analytical and technical content of these areas is very challenging to teach, Nelson has succeeded to become one the most effective and popular teachers in the McCormick School. In testament to Nelson’s outstanding teaching, one student marvels, “I cannot recall learning nearly as many life lessons from any other professor or teacher throughout the entirety of my academic career.” Known for establishing a relaxed and friendly classroom atmosphere by beginning each meeting with a joke or cartoon, Nelson engages his students with effective lecture slides and materials — the specific content of which many students recall long after the conclusion of a course. Nelson’s refined and vibrant pedagogy, coupled with high and demanding expectations, helps his students develop some of the skills most critical to successful industrial engineering. His colleagues observe that Nelson always “commands respect from students, but also returns it in equal measure.”
Nelson is the author of dozens of research publications, several books and book chapters; he is editor-in-chief of Naval Research Logistics and has been a consultant to governments and industry. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and United States and foreign industry. He is a fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.
Jeffrey Masten, who has also taught at the University of Michigan and Harvard University, is a nationally prominent specialist in Renaissance drama, early modern literature, and gender studies with a reputation for pedagogical excellence among colleagues and students. His eclectic but focused syllabi make teaching complex plays and materials appear deceptively simple. He constantly challenges his students’ fundamental assumptions about literature and authors with provocative, purposeful and fine-tuned questioning. Accordingly, many students regard Masten’s courses as profoundly transformative. One student observed that Masten “helps students discover the things they are dying to say,” while another noted that a class with Masten “opened the floodgates in our minds.” In every class, Masten not only shapes a coherent intellectual focus for his students, but also develops inventive ways of jump-starting student’s thought processes. Students commend his effective use of technology, relishing his multi-media slide presentations which incorporate everything from Renaissance works of art and high-resolution excerpts from the Shakespeare First Folio, to video and audio recordings to aid understanding of staging and pronunciation. A colleague noted, Masten “… does not merely attract the best students — his passion and meticulousness makes them into the best students.”
Masten is the author of numerous scholarly publications, including the book Textual Intercourse: Collaboration, Authorship, and Sexualities in Renaissance Drama, and essays in the fields of book history, early women’s literature, and the history of sexuality. He serves on the advisory committee of the scholarly journal PMLA and is a former trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America.
Franziska Lys has played a central role in the improvement of German language teaching and language instruction throughout Northwestern. She is a nationally recognized pioneer in and authority on the use of computer, Internet and video technologies in language acquisition. Lys has brought Northwestern to the cutting edge of this fast-growing and changing area. Her colleagues admire her as a reflective practitioner of effective teaching, who arouses the interest and mobilizes the motivation of students in the language acquisition process. Students identify Lys’s committed engagement and encouragement in the classroom as hallmarks of her teaching style. Using vivid contemporary materials, integrated technologies, and issuing constant feedback, Lys crafts for her students an innovative and effective learning environment. A student remarked, “I can’t help but catch her excitement, even when she’s teaching me adjective endings.”
Lys has published material on the problem of second language acquisition and computer-assisted language instruction: she is the author of several books and scholarly articles, has produced five films and developed interactive online learning environments for teaching language. She has received grants from Northwestern and from national and international organizations in Switzerland, Lichtenstein, and in the Federal Republic of Germany for improving language instruction.
In 1988, she was honored by the University with the College of Arts and Science Award for Excellence in Teaching. She received the 1996 Lieutenant Governor’s Award of the Illinois Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages for outstanding achievement in the field of foreign language teaching and research. She was selected as the Charles Deering McCormick University Distinguished Lecturer for 1997-98.
In 1998, she received the AATG/Goethe-Institute Award for outstanding achievement in furthering the teaching of German in the United States. In 1999, she was the recipient of the ACTFL/FDP-Houghton Mifflin Award for Excellence in Foreign Language Instruction Using Technology.
Jesse Rosenberg is a master teacher of music history and musicology, with an emphasis on the 19th century. As such, he has consistently drawn accolades from the School of Music’s discriminating performance-based students, who regard Rosenberg’s instruction as some of the best teaching they encounter at Northwestern.
One student wrote, “Rosenberg makes class worth every minute of your time. Through multiple assigned readings and notoriously thick course packets and dynamic classroom discussion, he steeps his students in the subject matter, inspiring rigorous thinking and emboldening students to become more intellectual in their approach to music. Students also hold Rosenberg’s use of the course management system in the highest regard — “presentations of electronic audio, video and textual resources vastly extend his students’ own preparations and, by extension, classroom participation.”
Rosenberg has published numerous scholarly articles on19th-century Italian music and musical culture, including studies of Verdi, Donizetti, Bellini, Rossini, and the Florentine critic and aesthetician Abramo Basevi. His current research projects include an early unpublished opera by Ponchielli (the autograph manuscript of which is in the Music Library at Northwestern) and a study of Jewish characters in 19th-century operas by Rossini, Verdi, Halevy, Mascagni and Strauss.