Douglas Foyle, Irina Russu and John Seamon were honored with the 2009 Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching May 24.
The Binswanger Prize was inaugurated in 1993 as an institutional recognition of outstanding faculty members. Prize recipients are chosen by a selection committee of emeriti and current faculty members and members of the Alumni Association’s Executive Committee.
Douglas Foyle, the Douglas J. and Midge Bowen Bennet Associate Professor of Government, joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1998, after serving as a postdoctoral fellow in international relations at the Mershon Center for the Study of International Security at Ohio State University. He holds a Ph.D., as well as a master’s degree, in political science from Duke University. He earned an A.B. in political science from Stanford University.
Professor Foyle’s research interests include elections and foreign policy, public opinion and foreign policy, and national security affairs. He has taught a wide range of government courses from Introduction to International Politics and United States Foreign Policy to International Security in a Changing World and Foreign Policy at the Movies.
Professor Foyle is the author of Counting the Public In: Presidents, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy, as well as a book manuscript in progress titled Politics Beyond the Water’s Edge: The Electoral Incentive and American Foreign Policy Decision Making. He also is the author of numerous book chapters and articles, appearing in such publications as the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, International Studies Quarterly, and International Studies Review. He has been quoted regarding his work and his assessments of current events in newspapers and magazines including U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, CQ Weekly, USA Today, the Hartford Courant, and The New York Times. He routinely reviews books, presents papers, and leads discussions on and off campus.
Irina Russu, professor of chemistry, joined the Wesleyan molecular biology and biochemistry department in 1987. She holds a Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of Pittsburgh, and an M.S. in biophysics and a B.S. in physics from the University of Bucharest in Romania. She was a visiting professor at Yale University in 1993–1994.
Professor Russu served as a postdoctoral research associate in the department of biological sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a member of the Wesleyan chemistry department since 2000. She has taught biophysics, chemistry, and mathematics courses, including Introduction to Biomolecular Structure, DNA, Calculus and Its Applications in Life Sciences, The Physics of the Living Cell, Modeling Biological and Biochemical Systems, Multidimensional Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, and Biological Thermodynamics.
Professor Russu recently received a generous grant from the National Institutes of Health to study “Structural Energetics of a RNA Transcription Switch.” Her principal areas of research include the structure and dynamics of nucleic acids and the molecular mechanisms responsible for the binding of oxygen to human hemoglobin. She is a member of the Biophysical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
John Seamon, professor of psychology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, came to Wesleyan in 1972 from New York University, where he served as a postdoctoral fellow in cognitive processes and cognitive neuroscience. He holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a B.S. in psychology from Columbia University.
In 1976, Professor Seamon was a guest investigator at The Rockefeller University in New York, and in 1979, he was a visiting scholar at Yale University. At Wesleyan, he has taught introductory psychology courses, methodology courses, cognition courses, and seminars on such topics as memory theory and research. His favorite courses are Human Memory and Memory in the Movies.
Professor Seamon is the author of two editions of Psychology, an introductory textbook, as well as Memory and Cognition: An Introduction and Human Memory: Contemporary Readings. He is the author of a myriad of articles in publications such as Psychological Science, Journal of Memory and Language, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, and Memory & Cognition. His recent scholarly publications have dealt with topics such as feigning amnesia and subsequent recall, and false memories in real-life contexts. He also has chaired the Wesleyan psychology department multiple times.
The Binswanger Prizes for Excellence in Teaching are presented each year and are made possible by the Binswanger family that counts numerous Wesleyan alumni, alumnae and parents in its ranks.
The standards and criteria for the annual prizes shall be excellence in teaching, as exemplified by commitment to the classroom and student accomplishment, intellectual demands placed on students, lucidity, and passion.
Recommendations may be based on any of the types of teaching that are done at the University including, but not limited to, teaching in lecture courses, seminars, laboratories, creative and performance-based courses, research tutorials and other individual and group tutorials at the undergraduate and graduate level.
Recommendations are solicited from members of the last ten graduating classes, the current junior and senior classes, and current graduate students.
Prize winners are announced at Commencement and each recipient receives a citation and monetary prize made possible by the generosity of the Binswanger family.