HFA Recognizes Three Faculty Members for Excellence in Teaching with the College Outstanding Teacher Award
The College of Humanities & Fine Arts (HFA) has announced its 2023 College Outstanding Teaching Award recipients: Cameron Awkward-Rich, assistant professor in the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Laura Ciolkowski, senior lecturer in in the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and researcher for the Prison Education Initiative; and Jennifer Nye, senior lecturer in the Department of History and co-chair of the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice Certificate. The College Outstanding Teaching Award is awarded annually within HFA to professors who have made significant contributions to undergraduate student education. The recipients are celebrated for exceptional teaching, mentoring, and curriculum development efforts, and for their impact on students' lives.
Cameron Awkward-Rich is a poet and scholar of trans theory and expressive culture in the U.S. He has published two collections of poetry, "Sympathetic Little Monster” (Ricochet Editions, 2016) and “Dispatch” (Persea Books, 2019), the former of which was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and was listed on Entropy’s Best Poetry Books and Collections of 2016. His creative work has been supported by fellowships from Cave Canem, The Watering Hole, and the Lannan Foundation. In addition, his book, “The Terrible We: Thinking with Trans Maladjustment” (Duke University Press, 2022), was named a 2023 Lammy Finalist.
He received his B.A. in English and biology from Wesleyan University and, in 2017, his Ph.D. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University. His research and teaching creatively combine trans/feminist/queer theory, disability studies, Black studies, studies of contemporary American literature, poetry, and other forms of experimental writing to explore transgender aesthetics and cultural production; the conflicted histories of trans/feminist/queer thought in the U.S.; and collective affect/feeling—particularly “bad” feelings like loneliness, dissociation, depression, withdrawal, and ambivalence.
Laura Ciolkowski is a writer, book critic, scholar, and passionate leader on feminist approaches to prison education. She is co-chair of the Five College Faculty Seminar on Prison Education and a member of the Massachusetts Prison Education Consortium. As faculty member at the Center for Justice at Columbia, she taught humanities and WGSS courses at Taconic Correctional Facility, a medium security women’s prison in Bedford, New York. She continues to teach college courses in prison and jail facilities in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Ciolkowski is the recipient of a Public Service Endowment Grant for her work in prison education and humanities scholarship. She is also a certified “Inside-Out” prison education instructor.
Ciolkowski received her B.A. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University and her A.M. and Ph.D. in English from Brown University. In addition to her multiple scholarly publications, Ciolkowski’s “Rape Culture Syllabus,” published in Public Books, is widely shared and circulated by feminist scholars and activists across the country. Outside of academic, her articles and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, the LA Times, and more.
Jennifer Nye has more than twelve years of experience as a practicing public interest attorney. Her work within the Department of History is integral to her philosophy of using the law for social justice. Her research areas include critical legal theory; critical race theory; use of the law and litigation by social movements to achieve social and legal change; feminist jurisprudence; LGBT, disability, domestic violence, and reproductive rights laws; and poverty law and public interest law.
She holds a law degree from Boston College Law School and previously taught at the University of Arizona in the Department of Women’s Studies and at the James E. Rogers College of Law. While living in Tucson, Arizona, Nye worked at the Arizona Center for Disability Law where she practiced health and mental health care law and litigated cases at the administrative, state, and federal court levels. She has successfully represented hundreds of adults, elders, and children with disabilities in individual and class action lawsuits challenging Medicaid denials and cuts in services, including several victories at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She began her legal career at Southern Arizona Legal Aid as a National Association for Public Interest Law Fellow (now Equal Justice Works) and staff attorney, where she represented survivors of domestic violence in family law and immigration matters under the Violence against Women Act.