At the Tulane University Unified Commencement ceremony on Saturday (May 18), T.R. Johnson, associate professor of English and director of the writing program, and Dr. Latha Rajan, associate professor of clinical tropical medicine, are receiving the Weiss Presidential Fellowships, the highest award for undergraduate teaching at Tulane University. The Board of Tulane, with support from Suzanne and Stephen Weiss, established the Suzanne and Stephen Weiss Presidential Fellowships to recognize the importance of undergraduate teaching. Each fellowship honors a faculty member who has a sustained record of effective, inspiring and distinguished teaching. Recipients receive a special medal, $5,000 a year for four years and permanent designation as a Weiss Fellow.
T.R. Johnson has won praise from his students and colleagues for his mentorship, energetic and dedicated teaching style and leadership in service-learning courses. Students clamor for Johnson's Literary New Orleans class. One calls it “one of the most ambitious and engaging courses I have ever taken.” Another student says Johnson “inspires undergraduate students in such a profound way that it forever alters their lives for the better.”
Dr. Latha Rajan is a key faculty member in the undergraduate public health studies program, engaging students in global community work through a summer service-learning course in Malaysia. She “truly embodies the ideals of teacher, researcher and mentor,” say her colleagues. Students praise Rajan for always making time for them. Her commitment to teaching and service inspires her students, including one who described working with her as “a life-changing experience.”
For more on the 2013 teaching honors, read about the two professors who are receiving the President's Awards for Graduate and Professional Teaching.