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Meet the recipients of the 2021 Goergen Awards for teaching excellence

(l to r) Rochester professors Jason Middleton, Elaine Sia, and Will Bridges are the recipients of the 2021 Goergen Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. (University of Rochester photos / J. Adam Fenster)

Rochester professors Will Bridges, Jason Middleton, and Elaine Sia will be formally recognized for their exceptional undergraduate teaching on October 28.

The diversity of subjects in which University of Rochester undergraduates find exceptional teachers may best be illustrated by this year’s recipients of the Goergen Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

They teach Japanese literature, film analysis, and biology.

Established in 1997 by University Trustee and Board Chair Emeritus Robert Goergen ’60 and his wife, Pamela, the award recognizes distinctive teaching accomplishments of faculty teaching undergraduates in Arts, Sciences & Engineering.

This year’s winners are:

They’ll be honored on Thursday, October 28 in a ceremony at the Feldman Ballroom in Frederick Douglass Commons.

“Professors Bridges, Middleton, and Sia each embody the kind of innovative pedagogy that we seek to recognize with the Goergen Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching,” says Jeffrey Runner, dean of the College. “This acknowledgement is a reminder to us all of the value our highly creative teachers add to our students’ experience and our College campus community as a whole.”

Nominations come from students, faculty, staff members, and administrators. The winners are chosen by Runner; Gloria Culver, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences; and Wendi Heinzelman, dean of the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences.

Discover what sets this year’s recipients apart

Will Bridges in profile with a blackboard in the background.Will Bridges: Innovation and student involvement as teaching tools

A fourth-generation teacher with a passion for post-World War II Japanese literature, the associate professor is always searching for innovative ways to reach his students.

Jason Middleton in a mask teaches his film class.Jason Middleton: Looking at film with a critical eye

The associate professor of English and visual and cultural studies lived all over the globe growing up, and developed a love of film at an early age.

Elaine Sia in a mask points at a figure on the blackboard.Elaine Sia: Teaching the ‘how’ as well as the ‘what’ in science

The biology professor has taught nearly 4,000 undergraduates since joining the University in 2000, including students in the 100-level Genetics, the first demanding course in that major.


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