Professors Top Dean’s List
Published: Friday, February 14, 2014
Updated: Friday, February 14, 2014 02:02
German professor Astrid Weigert, Department of Performing Arts Chair Maya Roth and biology professor Gina Wimp received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Convocation of College Faculty on Jan. 23.
In order to be considered for the award, a professor must be nominated by their department, with a letter of nomination from the department chair and two colleagues’ recommendation letters. The professor must also draft a statement of teaching philosophy.
In the final decision, the teacher’s syllabi and past student evaluations are also considered.
“Before electronic student evaluations, you had to say how many students were in each course, how many actually filled out the application and how many didn’t. It’s a good chunk of work,” Weigert said. After being nominated several times, she considered declining this year’s nomination because of the amount of work entailed.
This year’s professors have each taught at Georgetown for at least six years and developed their own courses in their respective fields.
Roth is one of five faculty-in-residence on campus, living in LXR. Roth became a faculty-in-residence in 2008 when she had a son and, as it enabled her to continue some of her work more easily.
“I don’t know how I could have been a mother and be in rehearsals at night times without being a faculty-in-residence,” Roth said. “It also made my experience more integrated, allowed me to interact with a much wider range of students and gave me a better pulse on what students’ experiences are and that has shaped how I structure my courses.”
Roth began teaching at Georgetown in 2003 and served as the founding Artistic Director of the Davis Performing Arts Center from 2005 to 2007. She has developed 14 different courses and directed 10 original shows, in addition to her role in opening the Davis Performing Arts Center. In her position as department chair, she shaped the theater and performance studies major to emphasize artistic excellence and the liberal arts. Of 54 total recipients in the award’s history, she is only the fourth performing arts professor to be recognized.
“I’m moved, proud, honored by the folks who are going into other fields and other traditional graduate jobs, for whom [a performing arts class] was central to their formation. To have them affirm that was really meaningful,” Roth said.
Wimp played an integral part in designing the environmental biology major, and she helped to develop two new courses, “Ecological Analysis” and “Global Climate Change Ecology.”
Wimp additionally researches genetic and environmental factors that structure biodiversity, all while teaching.
“The time allocation process can be incredibly difficult, but I’ve learned you have to use every single time slot as you can as efficiently as possible,” Wimp said.
Despite Wimp’s many commitments, her favorite part of her profession remains her interactions with students.
“Really students are the best part of my job. You do feel a sense of elation when you get your papers published or a grant funded, but there’s something different about actually watching somebody grow up as a scientist and watching them succeed,” Wimp said.
Weigert has developed classes about German business culture, Romanticism and German-speaking countries.
“I really would like to dedicate this award to my entire department because my development as a teacher really didn’t happen in isolation,” Weigert said. “We have a very collaborative process here and that really allowed me to try out different things, to develop, to consult my colleagues. I think that’s incredibly valued here.”