A First at Convocation: Awards for Teaching and Mentoring

The GC welcomed hundreds of new students at Convocation 2018.

At Convocation yesterday, The Graduate Center welcomed incoming doctoral and master’s students and celebrated exceptional teaching and mentoring by faculty and doctoral students.

President Chase F. Robinson

“Today, as you launch the vessels that will be your doctoral or master’s degrees, we’re here to give you no more than a gentle push, an initial direction,” President Chase F. Robinson said in his address.

He spoke about The Graduate Center’s commitment to upholding the tenets of democracy, of being a place where “ideals of truth can be pursued, certainties challenged, and serious, forensic methods — not 'mere rhetoric' — are honed and deployed.” He added, “In this most public of universities, it’s not a privilege but a responsibility that we learn and teach in deeply democratic modes.”

Alumna Tiffany Perkins-Munn (Ph.D. ’03, Psychology), global head of decision sciences at BlackRock spoke about her experience at The Graduate Center, which she described as “one of the best” of her life and one which propelled her career in corporate marketing and data analysis. She said that the expertise and experience she gained in data analysis and study design “contributed to my success in the world.”

Tiffany Perkins-Munn (Ph.D. '03, Psychology)

This year, for the first time, Provost and Senior Vice President Joy Connolly presented students and faculty members with awards for excellence in teaching mentoring. The awards, she said, were inaugurated “to recognize formally what we deeply value.”

She added, “Our doctoral students teach nearly 200,000 undergraduates each year and through their work have an immense impact on the University and the city.” The new award for Excellence in Teaching by a Doctoral Student recognizes students who have made an outstanding contribution to that effort. 

This year’s winners were Alicia Andrzejewski (English), Leah Persaud (Biology), and Diana Rodrigues-Spahia (Criminal Justice). 

“Mentoring is at the heart of doctoral education,” Connolly said in introducing the award for Excellence in Mentoring by a Doctoral Faculty Member, which recognizes professors who have had an outstanding impact on GC students.

This year’s award recipients were Professor Ofelia García (Urban Education and Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures); Professor Shubha Govind (GC/City College, Biology); and Distinguished Professor Joseph Straus (Music).

Convocation concluded with a stirring performance by D.M.A. in Music Performance students Matthew Griswold and Jason Yu of three piano preludes by Alexander Scriabin and the first movement of the violin sonata by Academy Award–winning CUNY composer John Corigliano.

President Chase F. Robinson, Graduate Center Foundation Board Chair Peter Darrow, and Provosot and Senior Vice President Joy Connolly with teaching and mentoring award winners (from left): Diana Rodrigues-Spahia, Alicia Andrzejewski, Professor Ofelia García, Professor Shubha Govind, Leah Persaud, and Distinguished Professor Joseph Straus

Submitted on: AUG 24, 2018

Category: Biology | Criminal Justice | English | Faculty | General GC News | Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures | Music Ph.D. - D.M.A | Student News | Urban Education