Erik Harms, Council on South East Asia Studies Chair, has been awarded the 2021 Lex Hixon ’63 Prize for teaching excellence in the social sciences.
The citation for Professor Harms states:
“Erik Harms, associate professor of anthropology, your students speak highly of your compassion and support of their learning, where students come ‘prepared and excited’ for each class session. They appreciate the trust you have in them to engage in the readings and course material without the need for busywork, and the supportive environment you create in the classroom. One student said, ‘While his expertise and mastery of this material is abundantly clear, he establishes such a comfortable, caring atmosphere in the classroom that it feels very easy to participate, and he always makes sure to validate your points and make you feel heard and appreciated.’ You understand that your students have different learning styles and you have been able to utilize this knowledge to help shape your classroom environment in a positive and constructive way in each of your courses. Another student shared that you foster ‘such an encouraging atmosphere in (your) classroom, it is so rare to not have everyone speak at least once.’
“The time and care you take to provide feedback to your students, both in conversation and with ‘thorough and thoughtful’ written comments on paper drafts helps them with the content of your courses, but more importantly supports and fosters growth in their critical thinking and writing skills. You see your students as scholars, and they feel your support of their learning. One student mentioned that you were ‘also invested in students’ growth outside of our course, letting us know about seminars from the Council on Southeast Asia Studies at Yale that we could attend and about scholarships if we wanted to conduct research in Vietnam.’ Another said, ‘Prof. Harms makes seemingly dense course materials and concepts digestible and relevant to our lives as Yale students.’
“Your care for your students is genuine and their excitement for your courses is contagious. Yale College is proud to award the Lex Hixon ‘63 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences to you, Professor Erik Harms.”
The other winners of this year’s Yale College teaching prizes, all in the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, are Carolyn Roberts — the Sidonie Miskimin Clauss Prize for teaching excellence in the humanities; Simon Mochrie — the Dylan Hixon ’88 Prize for teaching excellence in the natural sciences; Beth Anne Bennett and Pat Devlin — the Richard H. Brodhead ’68 Prize for teaching excellence by non-ladder faculty; and Stephen Stearns ’67 — the Harwood F. Byrnes/Richard B. Sewall Teaching Prize, for a faculty member who “over a long period of service has inspired a great number of students and consistently fostered the learning process both inside and outside the classroom.”
Yale College Marvin Chun typically hosts a reception in honor of all prize recipients, together with their students. Although the gathering is postponed until participants are able to celebrate in person, Chun said, “This year’s prize winners are extraordinary instructors, who, with imagination, resourcefulness, and dedication, have inspired their students and instilled in them a love of learning.”