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Final candidates announced for A&S professor of the year

The five finalists for the School of Arts and Sciences Professor of the Year Award were determined Monday night by the Arts and Sciences student senators.

The finalists include Professor Sean Lake from the Department of Classical Studies, Dr. Kathleen Rennie from the Department of Communications, Dr. John Sowa from the Department of Chemistry, Dr. Karen Gevirtz from the Department of English, and Dr. Kwame Akonor from the Department of Political Science.

This is the first year the award will be given, and the Arts and Sciences senators have been working closely with College of Arts and Sciences deans Joseph Marbach and Christopher Kaiser to make the award a success.

"It was a project that Dean Marbach and Dean Kaiser asked the Arts & Science senators to work on, and we have collaborated with them throughout the year," Arts and Sciences senator Melissa Boege, who spearheaded the project within Student Government Association, said.
"I believe throughout a student's academic career there is nothing more important than their relationship with their professors," Kaiser said. "This gives us a great opportunity to recognize those professors that often and tirelessly go above and beyond to assist students in the pursuit of knowledge at the highest level."

Students submitted more than 100 nominations during the month, and out of them there were nominations for 59 different faculty members. Several professors received two or more nominations.

The process for Monday night's selection involved each of the six Arts and Sciences senators choosing and making a list of the five professors they thought received the best nominations, excluding from their lists any professor they nominated themselves.

Students may select one of the five finalists in another survey at The survey can be found at This survey will be open for a month.

"The winner will be determined immediately following Easter vacation, and the award will be given at the Leadership Awards Ceremony on May 7," Boege said.

Kaiser said that students "should be proud that they have an opportunity to work alongside faculty with such depth and breadth of knowledge and a commitment to both research and practice…Our faculty here in the College and throughout the university are a testament and model to be followed."

Katherine O'Brien can be reached at

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