Award Winning Teachers

Each year, the Arts & Sciences Council honors outstanding faculty members for their teaching, service, mentoring and research. Since her arrival, Dean Valerie Ashby has also bestowed honors on those who distinguished themselves through leadership and the advancement of diversity.

Dean's Diversity Award

This award recognizes how diversity drives excellence in research, teaching, advising, mentoring, and service. All Trinity faculty, staff, and graduate students are eligible.

2022 Recipient:
Esther Kim Lee
Esther Kim Lee

Esther Kim Lee, Professor of Theater Studies

Since joining Duke in 2018, Esther has made a significant impact on the university through her directorship of the Asian American & Diaspora Studies program. Building on a foundation of advocacy by Duke students, alumni and faculty like AADS founding director Aimee Kwon, Esther successfully guided the creation of a new minor in Asian American & Diaspora Studies.

Housed within the Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, this new minor is dedicated to an interdisciplinary study of the people of Asian descent in the U.S. and will offer an exploration of the history, culture and experiences of Asian Americans and the Asian diaspora, focusing on the pan-Asian coalition of East Asian, Southeast Asian and South Asian Americans.

Esther’s work and the clarity she brought to this effort has enriched the diversity of our curricular offerings in ways that add value to the world-class liberal arts education Trinity promises, and that reflect the priorities and interests of Duke undergraduates.

2021 Recipients:
Shaundra Daily

Shaundra Daily and Nicki Washington, Professors of the Practice of Computer Science

Computer scientists Shaundra Daily and Nicki Washington designed the Cultural Competence in Computing Fellows Program – known as 3C – to address issues of systemic racism and bias that directly impact students from minoritized groups and also faculty, as issues of race, gender and intersectionality impact hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions in higher education.

Initially hoping to attract 20 computer science faculty into the program's Spring 2021 launch, they instead garnered 144 individuals from 67 different organizations across four countries for the inaugural cohort.

Nicki Washington

The program has its roots in Nicki's research, which is focused on identity and broadening participation in computing. Shortly after joining Duke in 2020, she connected with Shaundra, a faculty member in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and Computer Science, who shared her goal of creating a program that centers the perspectives and expertise of Black women, in particular.

In addition to the success of 3C, they have extended their successful partnership through the distinct but complementary Alliance for Identity-Inclusive Computing Education, which earned $10 million in funding from the National Science Foundation in August. These two are transforming participation and perspectives in computing.

Past Recipients

Dean's Leadership Award

This award recognizes a group of people or an individual who have demonstrated exceptional leadership to the department, college or university through research, teaching or service. All faculty and staff of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences are eligible for the award.

2022 Recipient:
Richard J. Powell

Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Distinguished Professor of Art and Art History

Since 1989, Rick has taught legions of fortunate Duke students about American art, contemporary visual studies, and the art of the African Diaspora.

Particularly recognized for his authority on African American art and culture, Rick has organized numerous art exhibitions at major museums including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Rick has also written extensively on topics ranging from primitivism to postmodernism, in works including: Homecoming: The Art and Life of William H. Johnson; Black Art: A Cultural History; Cutting a Figure: Fashioning Black Portraiture; and, most recently, Going There: Black Visual Satire, which examines satirical cartoons, paintings, films, and videos by modern and contemporary African American artists.

This year, Rick was selected to present the 71st A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. He delivered his six-part series on “Colorstruck! Painting, Pigment, Affect” – an examination of how colors, whether chromatic interactions in paintings and the sociocultural dynamics of race, collide in unanticipated ways.

2021 Recipient:
Steve Haase

Steve Haase, Professor of Biology

Steve is an essential member of the team that shaped Duke’s COVID-19 response and, in particular, organized and monitored our surveillance testing program, which at its peak included a dozen self-administered test sites serving undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff.

Before vaccines were available, the use of surveillance testing and rapid turnaround of test results was credited with keeping infections low.

The data produced at those sites – routed through Steve and his colleagues for analysis and modeling – was invaluable in guiding university decisions throughout the pandemic.

As an example, in June 2021 they elected to continue surveillance testing of students and the university community despite a significant decline in cases. At the time, Duke was the only university to do so, but with the arrival of Delta in September last year, many others followed suit – and quickly.

Past Recipients
  • Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies; Director, International Comparative Studies
    Asian & Middle Eastern Studies; International Comparative Studies
  • Associate Professor
  • Associate Research Professor
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    Naval Science Advisor Team
    Maj. Joseph Steinfels, Capt. Barry Morris, Lt. Joseph Bivans, Lt. Christopher Thumen, Lt. Alexander Dworjan, Lt. Karl Meyer, GySgt Zach Doty
    Navy ROTC
  • Professor
    Art, Art History & Visual Studies
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    Kenneth Lyle
    Chemistry (Outreach Program)
  • Spanish countryside
    Spanish Language Program's Civic Engagement Initiative
    Eileen Anderson, Joan Clifford, Rebecca Ewing, Bethzaida Fernandez, Lisa Merschel, Joan Munne, Liliana Parades, Maria Romero, Melissa Simmermeyer, Rosa Solorzano, Graciela Vidal, William Villalba
    Romance Studies
  • Physics Building
    Physics Team Members
    Ayana Arce, Ashutosh Kotwal, Al Goshaw, Mark Kruse, Seog Oh, Jack Fowler, Chiho Wang, William Ebenstein, Doug Benjamin, Andrea Bocci

Undergraduate Teaching Awards


David and Janet Vaughan Brooks Award

2022 Recipient:

Thomas Newpher, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Psychology & Neuroscience


From students: “Dr. Newpher is amazing, helpful, and understanding…He is an expert at team-based learning and it really makes the class worth it.”

“Dr. Newpher cares about the topics and the students so much and that really shows. Sometimes class would be replaced by a field trip to actually see the "methods" we were learning about and that was really helpful for making the topics feel more tangible.”

“There's a reason why nearly every Neuroscience student wants to take Dr. Newpher's class - he's an outstanding professor.”

Past Recipients

Robert B. Cox Award

2022 Recipient:

Carol Apollonio, Professor of the Practice of Slavic & Eurasian Studies


From students: “Professor Apollonio is one of the best teachers I’ve had at Duke. Have seriously enjoyed her classes. Be prepared to spend a lot of time reading but it’s worth it.”

“It’s so refreshing to have a course where I look forward to reading the stories and learning about a culture that I had little to no prior knowledge of. Plus Dr. A is an amazing professor who you can tell cares so deeply about the material and her students.”

“Professor A’s enthusiasm…shines through to students and is honestly infectious.”

“Professor A’s courses have been one of the absolute best parts of my Duke career.”

Past Recipients

Howard D. Johnson Award

2022 Recipient:

Anne-Maria Makhulu, Associate Professor, Cultural Anthropology

Anne-Maria Makhulu

From colleagues: “She reached out across the campus to expose Business students and I&E students to ethnographic thinking in Business Anthropology and Anthropology of Design classes that offer students another disciplinary angle on their primary interests. Her goal in classes such as these is not to make the students into anthropologists but to encourage them to be more versatile versions of themselves, to become more thoughtful Business majors, or to become more socially aware designers with a new way of asking questions as they develop their designs.”

Past Recipients

Richard K. Lublin Award

2022 Recipient:

Kusum Knapczyk, Lecturer, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies 

Kusum Knapczyk

From Students: “Dr. Knapczyk has made it one of her primary goals to give us real-world experiences and interactions with the topics that we explore within the classroom.”

“Every semester, Kusum Ji has exposed us to various aspects of Indian culture and allowed us to explore different issues.”


Past Recipients

Award for Excellence in Advising

The Award for Excellence in Advising, first presented in 2007, honors faculty and staff advisers who have helped guide undergraduates in the first two years at Duke.

2021 Recipient:

Makeba Parramore Wilbourn, Associate Professor of the Practice, Psychology & Neuroscience

Makeba Parramore Wilbourn headshot

From students: "I would’ve been lost without her…she helped me choose classes that really helped me grow and learn what I wanted to do. She gave me advice and explained things to me in ways I had never thought of before. She really helped me come to terms with my identity and who I am, and that itself is something so valuable to me, I could never be grateful enough for that. Words she said to me my first semester freshman year I can still remember so clearly, her impact on my life is unmeasurable."

“I always appreciate the time that Dr. Wilbourn took to make sure that I was always doing okay, both with my physical and mental health. I always knew that I had a faculty member that cared about me and knew me for who I was outside of my academics, which I know not all students experience."

Past Recipients

Award for Excellence in Teaching Writing

This award recognizes exceptionally strong teachers of academic writing. The award is made possible by the generosity of the Karen Blumenthal and Scott McCartney Endowment.

2022 Recipient:
Susan Thananopavarn

Susan Thananopavarn, Lecturing Fellow, Thompson Writing Program


Find more information about past winners at the Thompson Writing Program website.

Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award (ADUTA)

2022 Recipient:

Yue Jiang, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Statistical Science

Yue Jiang

Yue Jiang ’12 is Assistant Professor of the Practice of Statistical Science at Duke University. He joined the faculty in January 2020 after finishing his Ph.D. in Biostatistics at the University of North Carolina but has always been a Duke fan at heart, having graduated with degrees in Statistics (B.S.) and Earth and Ocean Sciences (B.A.). His applied research collaborations broadly deal with health outcomes research in gastroenterology and hepatology.

On campus, Yue teaches a number of statistical science courses and also collaborates with the medical school with respect to statistical education and quantitative literacy. He enjoys working with undergraduates in small-group and one-on-one mentored research experiences, and is also involved in various aspects of the undergraduate experience, with a particular interest in issues surrounding academic integrity.

Find more information about past winners at the Duke Alumni Association website.

University Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award

Past Recipients

Teaching with Technology Award

This award, co-sponsored by the Center for Instructional Technology, recognizes teaching excellence with a significant technology component. The faculty winner will receive a $5,000 prize. The award is open to all faculty who teach Trinity College of Arts & Sciences undergraduates.

Past Recipients

Dean's Distinguished Service Award

Past Recipients
  • Associate Professor
    Psychology & Neuroscience
  • Associate Professor of the Practice
    Program in Education
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    James Bonk
  • Shanahan
    Suzanne Shanahan
    Associate Research Professor
  • Professor
    Classical Studies
  • Professor

Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award

Past Recipient