Karen Koehler

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Professors Tinson and Koehler Receive 2016 Gruber Awards for Excellence

The Gruber Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Advising, established by alum David Gruber to showcase faculty excellence, have been awarded to Professors Chris Tinson and Karen Koehler

This year’s David Gruber Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Advising have been awarded to Professors Chris Tinson and Karen Koehler, respectively, it was announced this week by Eva Rueschmann, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty.

Professor Chris Tinson

Chris Tinson, Assistant Professor of African American Studies, said he was so surprised receiving Dean Rueschmann’s email notifying him of his award for Excellence in Teaching, he had to read the email three or four times. “This is one of the high points of my career. My family and I are ecstatic and grateful for the recognition,” Tinson commented.

Karen Koehler, the Marilyn Levin Professor of Architectural and Art History, received the news of her award for Excellence in Advising this week after she landed in Copenhagen for her current research trip. “I was taken totally by surprise--completely gobsmacked! I hadn't been to sleep for more than 24 hours so at first I thought I was dreaming,” she said.

Faculty members are nominated for the annual Gruber Awards by members of the Hampshire community, including former and current students, co-workers, and Hampshire community members. This year’s  committee members worked together to review each of the nominations and determine their recommendations for the awards. The selection committee was made up of Division III students Alexa Almany, Lewis Blake, Nina Levison, Brendan Linehan, Isadora Reisner, and Xavier Torres de Janon. Dean of Students designee Pam Tinto facilitated the process.

Alum David Gruber 72F established the awards in 2012 to showcase faculty excellence at Hampshire. Recipients each receive $10,000 and are asked to give a lecture or organize a symposium on the topic of teaching or advising, with the goal of encouraging the spread of effective ideas and methods among faculty.

Tinson was recognized with the Excellence in Teaching award for his commitment to the well-being of his students, engaging them with challenging discussions and relevant, real-world learning experiences in the fields of African American and Africana Studies. Tinson is continuously innovating his field and teaching, posing the hard questions about race and racism in the United States and internationally to his students and peers.  He has also served as a mentor and guide for student activists in the Black Lives Matter movement and the Decolonize Media Collective (DMC). He provides powerful opportunities for education, healing, and student development, Rueschmann noted in her announcement to the campus community.

“I chose the profession of teaching because of the incredible, patient, and committed teachers and mentors I have had in my life from grade school through graduate school,” Tinson said. “They taught me the joy and responsibilities that come with impacting the lives of others, especially young people. I appreciate that my students see value in the work I do, and I thank them for teaching me about the things that are important to them as we strive for excellence in and out of the classroom.”

Professor Koehler was recognized with the award for Excellence in Advising not only for motivating students to accomplish their best work but also for creating a supportive and inspiring community of peers and mentors for her students. Dean Rueschmann noted that Koehler’s crucial support and mentoring of students extends well beyond their time at Hampshire, as many enthusiastic letters from alumni attested.  Koehler was further recognized for her Institute for Curatorial Practice, an innovative program that she created to help both students at Hampshire and many others beyond the college to develop professionally within the field of curatorial studies and practice.  

Koehler commented, “The best part of this award is that it comes from the students themselves, which makes me truly honored to be recognized by them.” Koehler thanked the staff of the Museums10 consortium, especially her Hampshire colleague Jocelyn Edens, Hampshire's digital curatorial fellow, “for giving their time so generously to work with our curatorial students.” Koehler also thanked the Kress Foundation whom she said took a risk and supported the Institute for Curatorial Practice when it was just getting started.

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