2020 TEACHING AWARDS PART 1
On the morning of Thursday, March 26, as the Emerson community navigated the first week of remote courses amid the COVID-19 crisis, Provost Michaele Whelan took delight in sending an email to students and faculty announcing the winners of the 2020 Teaching Awards:
“These awards are a way of recognizing faculty who exemplify excellence in teaching, and the record 388 nominations we received this year attest to our collective commitment to this value.”
- The Helaine and Stanley Miller Award for Outstanding Teaching goes to Nejem Raheem, Associate Professor in Marketing Communication, for showing remarkable dedication and creativity, and for encouraging students to master their fields of study.
- The Alan L. Stanzler Award for Excellence in Teaching goes to Kenneth Grout, Affiliated Faculty in Communication Studies, for being an outstanding teacher.
- The Alumni Award for Teaching Innovation goes to Amelia Broome, Senior Artist-in-Residence in Performing Arts, for engaging students in active learning in and out of the classroom, and for fostering a stimulating and creative learning environment.
This article is the first in a series of three, highlighting the work of each teacher, and sharing thoughts from their students and colleagues.
2020 Helaine and Stanley Miller Award for Outstanding Teaching
Associate Professor, Marketing Communication
The Helaine and Stanley Miller Award for Outstanding Teaching is awarded to a full-time Emerson faculty member who consistently receives high Teacher/Course Evaluation ratings. Winners of this award display high academic standards established by the faculty members. The award winner receives a stipend of $1,500. The award is made possible through the generosity of Helaine Miller ’55.
Nejem Raheem brings over 15 years of experience as an environmental economist to Emerson. His expertise is in economic analysis of natural resource and environmental issues, focusing on ecosystem services and traditional or indigenous economies. In addition to Emerson, he has taught economics at Kinship Conservation Fellows and the University of New Mexico. He is currently working on a project with scientists from the USGS, the Nature Conservancy, and the Wildlife Conservation Society to examine the effects of long term drought on human communities. In addition to regular presentations at US conferences, he has presented his research at a conference on irrigation, landscape, and culture in Valencia, Spain. He has published in peer-reviewed journals such as WIRESWater, the International Journal of the Commons, Marine Policy, and the Social Science Journal.
TEACHING AT EMERSON SINCE: 2009
COURSES TAUGHT: Principles of Economics; Too Thick to Navigate: the Ecology and Economics of Rivers; Behavioral Economics; Sustainable Development Goals (SOC first year seminar); Biology and Economics of Cooperation; Marine Conservation: Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary; plus several honors theses and directed studies.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT TEACHING: “I love figuring things out. I also love to break my own stereotypes about myself and my ‘aptitudes.’ So I love to see people (students, whoever) develop fluency in something,especially if it’s something they don’t think they’re good at. Just seeing folks get more comfortable with complex fractions is pretty cool. But best of all is to see that pilot light set the fuel alight. It happens with a WHUMP. Sometimes you’ll catch someone at an angle, and find that they’re into something you can help them with. You can both work on something you love. It’s not common. But it’s best of all.”
WHAT STUDENTS SAY — from anonymous award nominations:
“Nejem goes above and beyond to engage with students and takes new approaches to teaching everyday. He not only applies his real world experience but also acknowledges the experiences he hasn’t had. He is humble, down to earth, and so incredibly devoted to this institution. He begins each class with five minutes of mindfulness – a meditative practice to ground us before learning. He is an organization advisor to Emerson Green Collective and perhaps one of the institution’s finest environmentalists, constantly devoted to the betterment of this place.”
“Dedication and Inclusive Classroom: Nejem’s dedication to the fields of teaching and behavioral economics is palpable from the minute he first walked into the classroom. He’s a modern professor meaning he doesn’t rely on monotonous PPT. He passionately delivers the content in an engaging manner through well supervised conversations among students. He offers great office hours and support/guidance through the whole course. 2. Creativity and Innovation: As mentioned above, he finds new engaging ways to invite discussions. He allowed students to choose the chairs layouts, ensured we back up our claims in discussions, shared meaningful class material with us and most importantly our final projects were on fixing REAL LIFE PROBLEMS.”
WHAT COLLEAGUES SAY — from Lu Ann Reeb, Assistant Dean of the School of Communication and Director of Entrepreneurial Studies and Business Studies
“I had the good fortune to co-teach with Nejem last fall in a First Year Seminar course about the challenges of sustainability with students across all majors in the SOC. And I’ve known Nejem for years as a colleague to be kind, thoughtful and collaborative. But co-teaching brought a new dimension to my respect for Nejem. To see him relate to students who may not have interest in economics, and to see his passion for sharing knowledge about sustainable impacts across so many different topics – not necessarily in economics – was amazing!”