Parents of college students may not sit in lecture halls or discussion groups with their offspring, but they do hear about the teachers that make a difference in their children’s lives.
That led the USC Parents Association, in partnership with the Office of the Provost, to create the Teaching and Mentoring Awards five years ago. The awards are given to three exemplary USC instructors each year during President Steven B. Sample’s address at Trojan Parents Weekend. Each winner receives an honorarium of $1,000 and has his or her name inscribed on a plaque in the University Club.
The awards provide parents an opportunity to publicly thank faculty members for mentoring and guiding their sons and daughters, said Tom Searles at the 2007 ceremony in October. Searles and his wife, Beth, serve as co-presidents of the USC Parents Association.
Anderson received the junior faculty award — the second teaching award she has won since joining the College faculty three years ago. She earned her doctorate from Yale University in 2004 and focuses her research and writing on 18th-century literature. Anderson also initiated a “Brown-Bag Lunch” group in the English department that organizes lunches at which faculty and students present their works-in-progress to peers.
Anderson credits her own teachers, as well as her father (also a teacher), for her passion for teaching and her love of learning — which feed on each other. She said that she learns from her students each time she steps into the classroom.
USC parents Nancy and Jeffrey Shephard nominated Anderson, writing: “Professor Anderson made class interesting and brought out great discussions about classical literature. The class was challenging and thought-provoking but at the same time enjoyable.”
Other honorees were Arthur Bartner of the Trojan Marching Band and the USC Thornton School of Music, and Kerry Fields of the USC Marshall School of Business. Honorable mentions went to Franklin Manis of USC College’s psychology department, Renaissance drama scholar Angus Fletcher of the USC School of Theatre and Robert Turrill, an expert on management and organizational behavior at USC Marshall.
The provost’s office assisted the parent committee in the selection process, with Gene Bickers, associate vice provost for undergraduate programs and himself a much-lauded teacher in USC College’s physics and astronomy department, taking part in the awards presentation.