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Undergraduates call them brilliant, inspirational teachers

May 14, 2014 8:45 AM
Photos by Paula Burch-Celentano pburch@tulane.edu

commencement Bar2014

On Saturday (May 17) at the Tulane University Commencement ceremony, two outstanding teachers of undergraduate students will be honored — Scott Grayson, associate professor of chemistry, and Jeffrey Gunshol, senior professor of practice in theater and dance. They will receive the Suzanne and Stephen Weiss Presidential Fellowships that honor faculty members who have 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.

Scott Grayson

Scott Grayson “does what many would think impossible. He transforms sophomore-level organic chemistry from a despised course into an embraced course,” his department chair says. Brilliant teaching, infectious enthusiasm and “seemingly unlimited accessibility” describe his classroom work in nine years at Tulane, although he also is a stellar researcher. “Keep him forever at Tulane” and “He should win the Nobel Prize for teaching” are among the many comments from his students. “There is nobody more deserving of a Weiss Presidential Fellowship,” a colleague says.

Jeffrey Gunshol

A passionate teacher whose classes are both “rigorous and accessible,” Jeffrey Gunshol teaches both theater and dance majors, advises students in honors theses, is a choreographer for the department and is a “champion for all of his students.” One colleague says Gunshol works meticulously with students, “getting from them more than they could ever imagine they are capable of.” Another praises him for creating “an interdisciplinary program where dance students understand theater and where theater students understand dance — and life.” A students adds, “He is the type of teacher whose generosity of spirit and talent to inspire are inexhaustible.”