Awards Highlight Outstanding Teaching at UW-Madison

When it comes to what’s important for a world-class university, great teaching is always on the list.

This year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards honor 10 faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who are known and respected for their excellence in teaching.

“One of the fantastic things about these awards is that they represent the cream of an astonishing crop,” said Katherine Cramer Walsh ‘94, associate professor of political science and chair of the Teaching Awards Committee. “This campus is home to a great number of faculty members who care deeply about their students, pour their heart and soul into teaching, and go out of their way to share their love of teaching with others.”

The Distinguished Teaching Awards are bestowed by the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty, which will honor this year’s recipients on March 28 at a ceremony and reception hosted by the Wisconsin Alumni Association.

According to a 2011 survey of UW-Madison alumni, 82 percent of respondents ranked “leader in teaching” as an important or very important attribute for their alma mater. Teaching is among the top 10 areas that alumni said are important for UW-Madison, along with attributes such as being academically challenging, promoting critical thinking and preparing future leaders.

Nominated by their peers, the 10 faculty honored with the 2012 Distinguished Teaching Awards are:

  • William H. Kiekhofer Distinguished Teaching Award
    Associate Professor Jeffrey S. Beneker, Department of Classics
  • Emil H. Steiger Distinguished Teaching Award
    Assistant Professor Cameron L. Macdonald, Department of Sociology
  • Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Awards
    Professor Robert H. Fillingame, Department of Biomolecular Chemistry
    Professor Parry D. Karp, School of Music
    Professor Gary Shiu, Department of Physics
    Professor M. Jake Vander Zanden, Department of Zoology
    Professor Lee Palmer Wandel, Department of History
    Associate Professor John G. Zumbrunnen, Department of Political Science
  • Van Hise Outreach Award
    Associate Professor Roseanne Clark, Department of Psychiatry
  • Class of 1955 Distinguished Teaching Award
    Associate Professor Nicholas J. Balster, Department of Soil Science

More details about the teaching philosophies and accomplishments of these honorees is available at