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Three Professors Awarded Excellence in Teaching Awards

2012 College Dean

Maria Donoghue, associate professor of biology; Bryan McCann, associate professor of history; and Sarah Stiles, assistant visiting professor of sociology, all received awards for their excellence in teaching from Georgetown College Dean Chester Gillis.

February 6, 2012 – Scholars of social entrepreneurship, Latin American history and neurobiology received honors for their work in the classroom during the annual Georgetown College Faculty Convocation.

The three professors – Bryan McCann, associate professor of history; Maria Donoghue, associate professor of biology; and Sarah Stiles, visiting assistant professor of sociology – received the 2012 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching during the Jan. 24 event.

Devoted Teacher

Donoghue, who also serves as co-director of the neurobiology major and associate director of the university’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute program, teaches science classes for biology and neurobiology majors as well as non-majors.

“Professor Donoghue is devoted to educating her students …,” says Georgetown College Dean Chester Gillis. “Her course for non-science majors, Issues in Biology, captivates 120 students each year and effectively informs them of the important role that science and scientific thinking plays in their lives.”

Her research lab includes undergraduate and graduate students as well as post-doctoral fellows, and aims to reveal the molecular underpinnings of normal brain development.

“My time at Georgetown has been enriched by the thoughtful educators with whom I interact and the innovative staff at [the university’s Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship] who helped me to see teaching through a new prism,” Donoghue says.

Outstanding Qualities

McCann teaches courses on colonial and modern Latin America, the history of that region’s populism and courses on popular music in Cuba and Brazil.

“He works intensely with students on every facet of their classroom performance …,” says  Gillis. “His imaginative use of music and visual imagery as texts to be deciphered in the classroom, combined with his willingness to put in extra time in meeting with multiple discussion sections and organizing field trips to museums and performances, all speak to his outstanding qualities as a teacher.”

McCann’s work continues outside the classroom – he regularly brings musical performers to campus. He also participates in weekly Portuguese-language discussion groups with students and speaks to student organizations such as the Georgetown Latino Alliance.

“It is a wonderful feeling to be recognized by my peers for hard work put in over the years,” says McCann. "It is a privilege to teach Georgetown students – they are bright and motivated and keep me on my toes.”

Social Entrepreneurs

Stiles teaches theories of social change through her community-based learning and law and society courses.

Her students read case studies and Stiles brings in successful social entrepreneurs as speakers. Some of the students partner with the entrepreneurs partner during the semester to work on projects.

“Stiles has achieved such deep and abiding respect from her students …,” says Gillis. “[Her social entrepreneurship course] is her most often expressed passion, and two of its veterans created the now-national Compass Fellows Program and give her credit for being their muse.”

The professor’s background in international law, political science and Spanish contributes to the experience students have in the classroom.

“I am proud to be one of many exceptional educators here on the Hilltop working with young adults who will take the lessons we have taught them and make the world a better place,” she says.

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