MacCarthy and Stockmann Win Innovative Teaching Awards

Posted on March 31st, 2022 by

Colleen Stockmann (left) won the 2021-2022 Innovative Assignment award for their assignment "Repatriating the Parthenon Marbles." Henry MacCarthy won the award for Innovation at the Course or Curricular Level for the courses associated with the Fall 2020 production, "The Murder Mystery Hour" (Right).

The 2021-2022 Innovative Teaching Awards from the John S. Kendall Center for Engaged Learning and the Provost’s Office went to two professors in the Fine Arts: Henry MacCarthy and Colleen Stockmann. The Innovative Teaching Awards recognize faculty who are engaged in innovative teaching, including new uses of instructional technology, new ways to engage students in the learning process, new approaches to student collaboration, or new methods for improving student learning outcomes. 

MacCarthy, associate professor in Theatre and Dance, won the award for Innovation at the Course or Curricular Level for the courses associated with last fall’s The Murder Mystery Hour: A Double Bill of Radio Thrillers

His idea for the radio play stemmed from a need for a show that could be produced regardless of the state of the pandemic. He came up with the idea of doing a radio show that could be done fully live on stage, filmed with social distancing, or done as audio only in the traditional radio style. With cases still high in Fall 2020, the production was done as a traditional radio play, where audiences could stream it across the country.

While innovation is deeply important to MacCarthy as an educator, he can fall into a pattern without realizing it. “Sometimes you’re not aware that you’re falling into that pattern until something like COVID, for example, shakes you completely,” he said. 

MacCarthy said that the show would not have been possible without the students and the rest of the department. “Unless the students buy into it and get excited about it and feel passionate about it, it can’t happen.”

Stockmann, assistant professor in Art and Art History won the Innovative Assignment Award for their midterm assignment, Repatriating the Parthenon Marbles, for the course ART-101: Intro to Art History. 

The assignment came about through a working group with peer faculty at other institutions. The project took the form of a debate, where students were assigned to argue either for or against the repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles. Over half of the marbles from the Parthenon temple in Greece are currently in British museums, taken in the 19th century, and many believe they should now be returned to Greece. “Part of the exercise is to practice seeing the other side of a debate about a super complicated element,” said Stockmann. After the debate, students also wrote a paper arguing for the position that they agreed with most. They were also asked to come up with a solution that wasn’t an either/or answer. 

“I hope students leave with more questions than they came in with,” Stockmann said. “That sense of the way that the world is connected, and the way that a single object can tell a global story is really key.” 

Stockmann uses questions throughout their teaching as a way to gauge what students are thinking about. They believe in having the conversation that only the people in the room can have. “I hope that students see or understand to some extent how much they shape the class and my teaching.” 

“Trying innovative things just keeps me on my toes, and that piece of teaching really energizes me,” said Stockmann. “I think the innovation comes from keeping up with what’s happening in the world, what’s happening in the art world, and wanting to learn something alongside my students.”


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