At Clark University’s annual Senior Brunch (May 14), where faculty and staff serve a hearty breakfast and present awards to soon-to-be graduates, Betsy Huang, associate professor of English and Chief Officer of Diversity and Inclusion, was honored by her students with the Outstanding Teacher Award.
“We have a lot of outstanding teachers here at Clark,” said Dean of the College Mary-Ellen Boyle. “It’s a real delight to nominate Betsy because she’s been recognized her for her role in the classroom, out of the classroom and in the administration, and that’s very unique.”
Dean Boyle said that one of the student nominees wrote, “Professor Huang is one of the most inspiring and compassionate people I know. She cares deeply about her students as people and furthering their education… she has so much respect for students’ opinions and is wonderful at leading discussions.”
Another student wrote, “Professor Huang has done so many great things this year, from collaborating to bring [poet] Richard Blanco to campus to teaching this year’s capstone course in the English Department. I don’t know how she juggled both teaching and her new position as Chief Officer of Diversity and Inclusion, but I’m thankful she did!”
Professor Huang thanked the students, adding that she feels as though she is a “walking amalgam of all [her] students over the years.”
“I always steal from what you say in class and repeat it to the next class,” she said. “That’s because there’s really so much wisdom that is shared in the classrooms.”
Professor Huang’s central message was simple: she urged members of the Class of 2014 to read.
“As a literature professor, I always want to encourage you to read… read fiction, read novels,” she said. “When you sit down and read a novel, you give your life over to the lives of others. And hopefully you learn about the lives of people who are not like you.
“When you learn about difference on its own terms—not about how to find the way for that difference to be like you, but for you to be like that difference—you shift with what you learn and you expand and you grow,” she said.
Other faculty who were nominated for this year’s Outstanding Teacher Award included:
- Nicola Curtin, Psychology
- Mark Davidson, Geography
- Jude Fernando, IDCE
- Scott Hendricks, Philosophy
- Matt Malsky, V&PA, music
- Kevin McGerigle, V&PA, theater
- Toby Sisson, V&PA, studio art