Stanford Introductory Seminars student award renamed for Russell Berman

Russell Berman
Russell Berman

To honor RUSSELL BERMAN and his dedication to the Introductory Seminars program, Stanford has renamed an award recognizing exceptional student projects produced during the courses as the “Russell A. Berman Award for Excellence in an Introductory Seminar.”

“What a wonderful honor,” Berman said. “I’m delighted.”

Berman, the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities, a professor of comparative literature and of German studies and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, will conclude his term as faculty director of Stanford Introductory Studies this year, after serving in the role for 12 years.

The Introductory Seminars program is one of several programs managed by Stanford Introductory Studies, a unit in the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education that also oversees Thinking Matters, Education as Self-Fashioning, Sophomore College and Arts Intensive.

Berman was honored at a May 13 awards reception that celebrated the outstanding work of 32 students who produced 24 IntroSems projects. All of the students had been nominated for awards by their IntroSems professors.

Under the program, faculty members teach small-group classes to first-year students and sophomores. The classes are offered in a wide range of disciplines, in more than 60 departments and programs and in all seven schools.

During the recent reception, SUE MCCONNELL, the Susan B. Ford Professor of Humanities and Sciences who teaches the IntroSems class Introduction to Conservation Photography, commended Berman’s innovation and tenacity, particularly as it pertained to Stanford’s efforts to invest in and enrich the experience of first-year students.

HANK GREELY, the Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law, also praised Berman’s contributions, saying everything he touches benefits from his involvement.

“Russell holds workshops for IntroSems faculty to explore pedagogy and to help us work toward becoming better teachers,” said Greely, who teaches the IntroSems class Law and the Biosciences. “Stanford students owe Russell a great debt of gratitude for what he has brought to IntroSems, and the faculty do as well. I know IntroSems are the most satisfying teaching I do.”

During his 12 years at the helm of Stanford Introductory Studies, Berman also led Introduction to the Humanities, which preceded Thinking Matters. Over that time period, more than 1,000 faculty members taught more than 2,000 courses through the programs, reaching more than 43,000 students in the early years of their undergraduate experience.

Berman has held many leadership positions during his 40 years at Stanford, including serving as chair of the Faculty Senate in 2014-15.

Next year, Berman will continue to teach at Stanford while also shuttling periodically to Washington D.C., where he is lending his expertise as a senior adviser on the policy planning staff of the U.S. State Department.