back to news April 16, 2020

Gopalan, Weiner, Bukowski honored with student council teaching awards

Venkat Gopalan, a Newman Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been selected as the recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Award, an annual honor administered and presented by the Arts and Sciences Student Council. This is the only teaching award completely administered by students in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Isaac Weiner, an associate professor in comparative studies, was named the finalist for the award. Noah Bukowski, a PhD candidate in the Department of English, was selected as the recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Associate Teaching Award.

More than 370 people were nominated for the awards, and the recipients were selected after submitting materials and conducting an interview with the student council. Only students can nominate for these awards, and the entire process is administered by students.

Recpients submitted CVs to and were interviewed by the student council, and students also visited classrooms to observe instruction taking place. The Outstanding Teaching Award has been given every year since 1947, and the Outstanding Graduate Associate Teaching Award has been handed out annually since 2010.

“The Arts and Sciences Student Council is honored to have been able to connect with so many faculty and learn about their methods for facilitating learning,” said Niki Grotewold, the council’s vice president. “This award is our way of thanking the professors for phenomenal teaching and dedication to our needs as students.”

Gopalan, who has been at Ohio State since 1998, will receive a $1,000 award as well as a plaque.

“Dr. Gopalan shows a tremendous care for learning students’ names and just formally creating a relationship with his students,” said one of Gopalan’s nominators. “His method of teaching is beyond efficient, and the organization is the feature that stands out the most to me and my fellow classmates.”

“He always went above and beyond to make himself and the material accessible,” said another. “He's patient, encouraging, funny and an excellent teacher.”

Isaac WeinerWeiner, a scholar of American religious studies, is the co-director of the American Religious Sounds Project and has research interests in pluralism, law and sensory culture. He will receive a plaque for his finalist honor.

“Professor Weiner may be my favorite professor I've had thus far,” said one of his nominators. “He's so passionate and engaging. He really encourages students to get out and learn about things they may not have. He makes things interesting and relatable to the world we live in and approaches very controversial topics with integrity and encourages student to think of things on all sides.”

Noah BukowskiBukowski is a PhD candidate specializing in rhetoric, composition and literacy. He will receive a $500 award and a plaque.

“Mr. Bukowski goes above and beyond to promote accessible course design, with his inclusion of and commitment to students with disabilities far exceeding the university requirement,” said one of Bukowski’s nominators. “He formats classroom media, projects and activities to be the most broadly accessible version possible so that you don't have to seek alternatives to meet your accommodation needs. If there is an accommodation that isn't met, he is very willing and eager to help provide that to the best of his abilities.”

Previous award winners can be found here.