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Stanford Report, June 18, 1997

Six scholars win Gores Awards for teaching excellence

Two professors, two lecturers and two graduate students received the Walter J. Gores Award for excellence in teaching at the commencement ceremonies.

Robert Waymouth, associate professor of chemistry; Terry Karl, associate professor of political science; Richard Cushman, lecturer in humanities and sciences; and Alice Miano, lecturer in Spanish and Portuguese, were among the winners. Jonathan Eisen, a graduate student in biological sciences, and Apostolos Lerios, a graduate student in computer science, received Gores Awards as well.

Waymouth has served on the Stanford faculty since 1988. He and one of his graduate students recently discovered a process for developing new forms of plastics. Waymouth was awarded the Gores prize for his "extraordinarily effective and enthusiastic teaching of introductory general and organic chemistry," for "demonstrating once again that world-class scholarly research and teaching can be interwoven in a rich tapestry of education" and "for long service as a dedicated and caring adviser for undergraduates and graduates alike."

Karl, who directs the Center for Latin American Studies, was praised for elevating the center to "unprecedented levels of intelligent, dynamic, cross-disciplinary activity and public service in literature, arts, social sciences and professions." Her teaching and mentoring were described as "challenging, passionate, and charismatic," and she was cited for "her persistent and provocative demand of students and colleagues to see past convention."

Karl, who received her bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Stanford, has been on the faculty since 1986. She has also taught at Harvard and at the University of California's Berkeley and Santa Cruz campuses.

Cushman, who teaches in the Great Works track of Cultures, Ideas and Values, won the Gores Award for "inspiring scores of freshmen to share his own intense sense of intellectual excitement and discovery through a close reading of primary texts." He was cited for having guided class discussions so "deftly and gently that students could claim many of the insights as their own" and for "generating a level of enthusiasm for Great Works that students spoke of with awe four years later."

Miano was awarded the prize for "using the newest technology to immerse her students, virtually, in the Spanish-speaking world and to turn them quickly and enthusiastically into Spanish speakers themselves." She was also commended for "making every minute of class time seem precious, well-spent and totally absorbing" and for "serving the department's curricular needs at all levels."

Eisen received the award for his "intensive and sustained effort over three years in helping to make the Science, Mathematics, Engineering Core a reality - from program design to course plans, to day-to-day teaching." He was praised for his "selfless devotion to students and colleagues" and "for bringing the joy of active learning and discovery in science to all students."

Lerios was cited for his devotion to computer science instruction and for "going the second and third mile to create innovative software for his students . . . transcending the expectations of his students and professors, and inspiring his fellow teaching assistants."

The Gores Awards recognize excellence of teaching at any level and in any form, including lecturing, seminar discussions, project sponsorship or advising. The awards are named for Professor Walter J. Gores, a member of the Stanford Class of 1917. SR