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UW AWARDS 2008 HOMEPAGE

UWEEK.ORG HOMEPAGE

DISTINGUISHED TEACHING AWARD
Ben Kerr, Biology
Gowri Shankar, Business Administration
Jaime Olavarria, Psychology
Jamie Walker, Ceramics
Julia Parrish, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences / Biology
Rebecca Aanerud, Women Studies
Richard Knuth, Education Administration

EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARD
Fernanda Oyarzun & Chris Himes , Biology
Rachel Goldberg, English

DISTINGUISHED LIBRARIAN AWARD
Theresa Mudrock, UW Libraries

DISTINGUISHED STAFF AWARD
Hendrik Simons, Nuclear Physics Laboratory
Mona Pitre-Collins, Undergraduate Scholarship Office
Philip Mote, Climate Impacts Group
Robin Bennett, Medical Genetics
Sue Park, Facilities Services

DISTINGUISHED CONTRIBUTIONS TO LIFELONG LEARNING AWARD
John Schaufelberger, Construction Management

OUTSTANDING PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD
Nancy Amidei, Social Work

JAMES D. CLOWES AWARD FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING COMMUNITIES
Lance Bennett, Political Science / Communication

S. STERLING MUNRO PUBLIC SERVICE TEACHING AWARD
Denise Wilson, Electrical Engineering

DAVID B. THORUD LEADERSHIP AWARD
Judy Mahoney, College of Engineering
Kathleen Woodward, Simpson Center for the Humanities

MARSHA L. LANDOLT DISTINGUISHED GRADUATE MENTOR AWARD
Tom Quinn, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

ALUMNUS SUMMA LAUDE DIGNATA
Beverly Cleary, Children's Author

ALUMNI ASSOCIATION DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
Robb Weller, Television Producer and Host

PRESIDENT'S MEDAL
June Shujun Peng and Royce Anderson

"I realized that the potential for teaching students how to deploy language in ways that could help them effect positive social change was so much more significant than my own self-consciousness."


Rachel Goldberg


Rachel Goldberg says she'd always been uncomfortable with public speaking and hated giving presentations as an undergraduate. So naturally, when she started the doctoral program as a TA in the Department of English in the fall of 2004, she was a nervous wreck. "I was thinking about preparing for teaching my first class of students and my stomach was aching and aching more and more," she says.

Over the next couple of days, the pain intensified but Goldberg chalked it up to nerves. The day she grabbed her right hip as the excruciating sharp jab in her abdomen reduced her to writhing around helplessly on the floor, her boyfriend insisted on calling 911. It's a good thing he did: Doctors determined she needed an emergency appendectomy. So much for a simple case of nerves.

But as she sat with her peers at a teaching orientation that fall, the thought of having to lead class discussions and teach undergraduates as part of her teaching assistantship, once a daunting task, suddenly became an opportunity to overcome her fear of public speaking.

This was in part due to the orientation led by Anis Bawarshi, an associate professor of English and director of the UW's Expository Writing Program. During his presentation to incoming TAs, something clicked in her, Goldberg says, which caused her to gain self-confidence and shift the focus of her doctoral work from literature to rhetoric and composition. "I realized that the potential for teaching students how to deploy language in ways that could help them effect positive social change was so much more significant than my own self-consciousness. Plus, moving to a field that provides me with the rigorous analytic tools and methodology to analyze how language shapes our realities was empowering."

Having taught classes in the English department for almost four years now, including courses such as expository writing and cultural studies, and having mentored incoming TAs herself, Goldberg says the hardest part about teaching can be finding time to balance her own studies with what she teaches. Clearly, says Bawarshi, her mentor and dissertation director, she puts the needs of her students above her own.

"Rachel's ability to reflect critically on her and others' teaching, her deep concern and respect for students and the conditions that contribute to their learning, and her commitment to making her teaching matter to students in their academic and public lives make her an extraordinary teacher," says Bawarshi. "She is committed to the public humanities as an area of scholarship, but she is just as committed to the outreach that accompanies that commitment, something that inspires her students at all levels to take seriously and apply their writing skills for academic inquiry and civic engagement."

Perhaps it comes as no surprise then, that Goldberg, a native of Washington D.C., is a self-described news junkie and reads political blogs incessantly. She says her research and teaching interests are in seeing students actively involved in their communities.

"Learning how to write an academic paper is important, but learning how to communicate effectively in the public sphere is also important. I try to teach my students how to be actively engaged in civic life through powerful writing."

Michelle LaBuwi, a former student, says one reason Goldberg is such a successful teacher is that she "outwardly views her students as colleagues and human beings with invaluable ideas and perspectives of their own, thus producing an open space for creative and personal development.

"She creates an incredibly fair place for academic discussion and always encouraged and remained open to multiple voices and opinions in the classroom, while pushing students to articulate the assumptions behind their own, and others' arguments. Rachel has a passion for creating a space to learn and grow."

Goldberg says she's done a fair amount of learning outside of academia since moving to Seattle. She's become a nature lover and enjoys hiking and bike riding, activities not exactly second-nature for someone who grew up in the other Washington. And while she owns "tons" of cookbooks, don't ask this vegetarian to whip up a complicated meal without following a recipe at least not yet.

But it's something she's working on, and if her past accomplishments are any indication of what lies ahead in her future, Goldberg already possesses the ingredients for achieving excellence.