Impact on Students Earns Zammito Top Teaching Honor

first_imgAddThis Share CONTACT: Mike Cinelli PHONE: (713)831-4794E-MAIL: [email protected] IMPACT ON STUDENTS EARNS ZAMMITO TOP TEACHINGHONORAssociate Professor of History JohnZammito has won the 1999 George R. Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching,Rice’s most prestigious teaching award.Alumni who graduated two and five years ago vote on the $6,000prize.A Zammito course can have an impact: “It was like opening myeyes to the world,” says Hanszen junior Hadi Tabbaa. For Hanszen College juniorDavid Zetoony, it was both gripping and intellectually demanding: “I’d have tomull over everything we talked about in class for hours and hours,” hesays.Says Professor of English Alan Grob, a past winner of theaward, marvels at Zammito’s grasp of art, philosophy and literature.“He teaches courses on subjects you’d wonder if he could get 10students for and he gets 50. These students follow him like the Pied Piper,” Grob said.Students have been known to applaud after a Zammito lecture,but his effectiveness as a teacher goes beyond his ability to make thingsinteresting: It’s also the love and admiration that flows between teacher andstudent.In his 10 years at Rice, Zammito has been a faculty associateat Hanszen College, and on any given day at the lunch hour, you’ll find him inthe dining hall surrounded by students. They generally revere him but feel freeto tease and be teased. They talk Nietzsche, movies and basketball.Teaching, like basketball, involves going “one-on-one,” Zammitosays. “It doesn’t come from a pedestal. You’ve got to be a person.” What’simportant, he says, “is just spending time with them and taking them seriouslyas people.”A year out of college, he was working as an economist for astock brokerage firm in Memphis. At the office, he’d think to himself that he’drather be reading philosophy. He went back to school, studying intellectualhistory at Berkeley.After graduating, he became an assistant professor of historyat the University of Texas where he won the Jean Holloway Award, one of theschool’s most prestigious teaching prizes. Later, at St. John’s School inHouston he won the Texas Excellence in Teaching Award for being one of the top10 secondary school teachers in the state.While at St. John’s, he wrote “The Genesis of Kant’s Critiqueof Judgment,” named one of the best academic books of 1992 by Choice, thejournal which reviews academic works.His research area is European intellectual history, primarilyGerman idealism and romanticism, and he refers to his course “EuropeanIntellectual History: From Bacon to Hegel,” as “my baby.” Another of hisfavorites is Huma 101 and 102 (“Introduction to Humanities”), which he hastaught since he’s been at Rice.Noting that he feels complete support from the administration,colleagues and students, Zammito says ,”I love Rice and am completelydevoted.”###last_img

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