Recognizing Faculty for Teaching and Mentoring

Dear Tulane Community:

Tulane's faculty are world-renowned for their groundbreaking research and visionary scholarship. Over the course of their careers, they also transform the lives of countless students and colleagues through their tireless commitment and dedication.

Each year, we are honored to recognize faculty who are consistently cited as life-changing teachers and mentors. Today it is my great pleasure to announce the faculty members who have been chosen to receive Tulane's highest awards in teaching and mentoring for 2024.

The Suzanne and Stephen Weiss Presidential Fellows Award is bestowed annually for excellence in undergraduate teaching, student advising and instructional improvement and development. This year's recipient is Carrie Wyland, Senior Professor of Practice in the Department of Psychology in the School of Science and Engineering. The selection committee noted her "consistently stellar" course evaluations, extensive service on Honors Thesis committees, innovative teaching techniques, and years as the Wall Faculty-in-Residence. One student cited her "unwavering commitment to crafting meaningful experiences for first-year students," and a former student wrote: "I am now a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a place I would not have attended if not for Dr. Wyland believing in me before I believed in myself."

The Tulane President's Award for Excellence in Professional and Graduate Teaching is given annually to two faculty members who have a sustained and compelling record of excellence in teaching and learning and an ongoing commitment to educational excellence. The first recipient this year is Ricardo Cortez, Professor in the Department of Mathematics in the School of Science and Engineering. Professor Cortez is an internationally recognized researcher who has steadily worked to bring more women and others from historically underrepresented backgrounds into the field of mathematics. His colleagues lauded him as a "champion and advocate for graduate students" who "has been widely recognized for his magnificent outreach and mentoring efforts," including as "the recipient of the Blackwell-Tapia Prize, the top prize awarded in the United States for mentoring and leadership of underrepresented minorities in the mathematical sciences."

The second Tulane President's Award for Excellence in Professional and Graduate Teaching for 2024 goes to Adeline Masquelier, Professor in the Department of Anthropology in the School of Liberal Arts. A former doctoral student wrote: "Today, as a colleague in the field of anthropology, I am deeply indebted to Dr. Masquelier for her mentorship and unwavering commitment to my growth...she inspired me to find my own intellectual voice in academia. Almost a decade after earning my PhD under Adeline's guidance, I still carry with me her advice, and I try to model the mentorship lessons that I learned from her with my own students."

The Oliver Fund Award for Excellence in Faculty Mentoring is a bi-annual award that recognizes senior faculty for their commitment to excellence in faculty mentoring. This year, the Oliver Award is presented to Katherine Theall, the Cecile Usdin Professor in Women's Health in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. The nomination letter describes her as "incredibly giving in sharing her time, knowledge, skills, connections, and support" and "a fearless advocate for junior faculty." These sentiments were echoed in several supporting letters: one noted that she "exemplifies the qualities of an outstanding mentor" and another wrote that she "is truly an ally who measures her own success by the success of others."

Tulane's trajectory is shaped by the daily contributions of our faculty, whether they are teaching in the classroom, leading exploration in the lab, or guiding a student or colleague through a research roadblock. It is a pleasure and an honor to recognize these four outstanding faculty members for selfless dedication to their students and colleagues. Please join me in congratulating them on their well-deserved awards.