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AU’s Hope Childers wins SUNY Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence
10/12/16

Alfred University Professor Hope Childers

Alfred University Professor Hope Childers

ALFRED, NY (Oct. 11, 2016) – “Transformative,” “passionate,” and “dynamic” are only a few of the words used to describe Alfred University Assistant Professor Hope Childers. Recognition of her excellence on the AU campus now extends throughout the SUNY system.  Childers, a member of the Division of Art History at the New York State College of Ceramics, has been honored with a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The SUNY Chancellor’s Awards honor SUNY personnel in numerous separate areas of education: teaching; librarianship; professional service; scholarship, faculty service and creative activities. The award, however, recognizes all its honorees as “SUNY community role models” and celebrates “consistently superior professional achievement and … the ongoing pursuit of excellence.”

Childers arrived at AU in 2011 after receiving her PhD in Art History from the University of California Los Angeles. Since then, according to Doreen Edwards, former acting vice president for Statutory Affairs, she has taught more than 830 undergraduate and graduate students. As a global art historian, her range of courses has been vast, including “Arts of Ancient India” and “Global Arts: Contemporary Asian Art in a Transnational Age,” plus newly developed courses, including “Women/Art/History: Feminist Art in a Global Frame.”

Her classroom work has also included the use of groundbreaking teaching technology, including practice in the use of Wordpress blogs, Endnote and Zotero, and encouragement of students to use applications such as Prezi , concept mapping and PowerPoint as teaching tools. Her scholarship has included numerous publications on Indian and South Asian art, and she is working on developing her dissertation – The Visual Culture of Opium in British India – into a book manuscript.

While Childers excels as a master teacher, she also is quick to credit Alfred University students with transforming their classrooms into productive learning experiences.  In particular, she says, the combination of AU art history and studio arts students in a single class yields a potent brew of intellectual curiosity and energy.

“When I came to Alfred, it was such a pleasure to teach students who first and foremost were interested in art. They’re curious, active, and so many have no problem participating in the classroom. They’re interested in how things are made – even when we’re not talking about functional pieces, the students are interested in how this art works in the world. And that interest becomes part of a much larger discussion.”

Childers says she also uses the multi-faceted interests of AU faculty to further enlarge the classroom experience. “I have strong connections with people across the university, and I’ve made good strides in connecting with people across the campus.  So in my “Women/Art/History” class, for instance, I have guest lecturers almost weekly from philosophy, anthropology and history.”

Her efforts weave a complex and stimulating tapestry in the education of her students. As Edwards said in her nomination of Childers for the SUNY Chancellor’s Award, “The New York State College of Ceramics and the broader University are fortunate to have someone of Hope’s caliber, intellectual acumen, enthusiasm, and commitment.”