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2016 Ratner Distinguished Teaching Awards Announced

December 13, 2016

2016 Ratner Distinguished Teaching Awards Announced


Five Arts and Humanities faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences have received 2016 Ronald and Deborah Ratner Distinguished Teaching Awards.

The Ratner Awards recognize faculty for making a difference in students' educations, lives and careers. Candidates are chosen for creative teaching and exemplary records of engaging, motivating and inspiring students. Each Ratner Award includes a $10,000 cash prize plus a $10,000 teaching account to fund future projects.

2016 Ratner Award recipients are:

  • Kathryn Campbell-Kibler, Associate Professor, Linguistics
  • Tommy Davis, Associate Professor, English
  • Tom Hawkins, Associate Professor, Classics
  • Jennifer Schlueter, Associate Professor, Theatre
  • Karl Whittington, Associate Professor, History of Art

Cleveland’s Ronald Ratner served on Ohio State's Board of Trustees from 2007 to 2015, appointed by former Governor Ted Strickland. Ratner is executive vice president and director of Forest City Enterprises, Inc., and president of Forest City Residential Group. Deborah B. Ratner is the founder of ArtWorks, a Cleveland-based arts apprenticeship program and Reel Women Direct, an award for women film directors. In 2014, they generously gave $1 million to establish the Ronald and Deborah Ratner Distinguished Teaching Awards. In addition, Forest City Enterprises has donated space in Cleveland at Tower City for The Ohio State University Recruitment and Outreach Center, aimed at increasing the overall college-going rate for the greater Cleveland area.

2016 Ratner Award Winners

Kathryn Campbell-Kibler, Associate Professor, Linguistics
Kathryn Campbell-Kibler has successfully supported apprenticeship-style learning by involving her students in hands-on learning opportunities that are grounded in “real live research.” One major initiative in this regard is her collaboration with students in the creation of the See Your Speech project, an interactive website that displays recordings of student voices. These recordings allow students to investigate how speech is connected to identity in a variety of contexts. She has also collaborated with faculty in psychology and in the College of Education and Human Ecology to create an interdisciplinary course at COSI. She plans to use the Ratner award to continue to develop the See Your Speech project.

Tommy Davis, Associate Professor, English
As a teacher of modern and contemporary literature, Tommy Davis inspires his students to see the classroom as a localized environment through which to think about major global challenges in the areas of energy and the environment. His classrooms are dynamic and interactive spaces that create room for asking difficult questions while also honing research and writing skills. He is leading an effort to develop an environmental humanities minor and to create an undergraduate course on environmental literatures, cultures and media. The Ratner award will enable him to pursue an experiential learning collaboration with Ohio State’s Stone Laboratory as well as to develop hands-on digital media training that will facilitate new ways of documenting the historical and cultural dimensions of ecological change.

Tom Hawkins, Associate Professor, Classics
Tom Hawkins has excelled in teaching large undergraduate lecture courses as well as small undergraduate and graduate seminars.  He describes himself as animated by an abiding conviction that studying classics is an essential component of “adept and empowered” citizenship, with a related commitment to encouraging students to see how such study is relevant to understanding and critiquing our own historical moment. He has developed a number of courses that explicitly work to create thematic connections to contemporary issues in science, globalization and racial understanding. He intends to use his Ratner award to help enhance his classical mythology course and launch a new course on Black Cultures and Classical Education.

Jennifer Schlueter, Associate Professor, Theatre
Jennifer Schlueter is known for the excellence of her teaching, having received the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Distinguished Undergraduate Research Mentor award. She designs her courses to inspire reflection, asking students “to step away, however tentatively, from the limiting comforts of certainty.” As a playwright, director and historian, she teaches her students to connect all aspects of theatrical representation and performance. She founded and continues to mentor The Lab Series, a performance research laboratory focused exclusively on student-led work. Through this, in the courses she teaches, and in her own research, Schlueter connects theory, history, creation and practice. She proposes to use the grant funding to provide opportunities for her students to take their work from the Lab Series to fringe festivals and other production venues so that they can continue their lines of creative inquiry and test their work before the general public.

Karl Whittington, Associate Professor, History of Art
Karl Whittington is known for teaching an unusually wide array of courses within his department. Since coming to Ohio State in 2010, he has taught 14 different courses, some of which are specifically in his field of medieval art history, while others — such as Maps and Visual Culture or How Paintings Work — are more cross-cutting. A recipient of the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, he has been an innovative contributor both to undergraduate research (including an honors thesis writing group) and to the STEP program. Having already developed the department’s first study abroad course, he is now looking to develop another in Italy, while also pursuing a service learning and/or outreach course working with incarcerated local populations. 

2016 Ratner Award recipients are L to R in photo:
Kathryn Campbell-Kibler, associate professor, Linguistics 
Tommy Davis, associate professor, English
Jennifer Schlueter, associate professor, Theatre 
Karl Whittington, associate professor, History of Art
Tom Hawkins, associate professor, Classics

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