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5 OU Faculty Named Presidential Teaching Fellows

5 OU Faculty Named Presidential Teaching Fellows in Honors College

Doug Gaffin, Allen Hertzke, Josh Landis, David Anderson, Aparna Mitra have been named as OU’s first Presidential Teaching Fellows in the OU Honors College.

NORMAN – Five University of Oklahoma faculty have been named as OU’s first Presidential Teaching Fellows in the OU Honors College. Three fellows begin two-year terms in August. They are:

  • Doug Gaffin, Professor in the Department of Biology and former dean of University College;
  • Allen Hertzke, David Ross Boyd Professor of Political Science;
  • Josh Landis, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Middle East Studies.

Two more begin their terms in August 2016. They are:

  • David Anderson, Assistant Professor in the Department of English;
  • Aparna Mitra, Associate Professor of Economics and Director of the Advanced Program in Economics.

The fellowships address an initiative of OU’s “Live On, University,” 125th anniversary campaign: To increase opportunities for OU’s most talented faculty – across all colleges and departments – to teach some of OU’s most talented students in the small-class format of an Honors course.

Presidential Teaching Fellows in Honors are those faculty members who excel in all their professional activities and who relate those activities to the students they teach and mentor. OU faculty who have a demonstrated record as excellent teachers are selected to teach courses in the Honors College for a period of two years.

“These incredibly talented faculty members are perfect choices for the new Presidential Teaching Fellows in the Honors College. They will bring to our Honors students the highest possible level of intellectual vitality,” said OU President David L. Boren.

Gaffin, who joined the OU faculty in 1995, has received the Outstanding Freshman Advocate Award from the National Center for the First-Year Experience, the Regents’ Award for Superior Teaching and the David Ross Boyd Professorship. Gaffin’s research focuses on understanding the special sensory abilities of scorpions and insects.

Hertzke is David Ross Boyd Professor of Political Science and an internationally-recognized scholar of religion and politics.  His most recent publication is Religious Freedom in America:  Constitutional Roots and Contemporary Challenges, with the OU Press.  He has taught honors seminars on Religion and Freedom; Challenges of Modern Democracy; Global Religion and Politics; Justice, Liberty, and the Good Society; and Religion and the Constitution.

Landis is Associate Professor at OU’s College of International Studies. He writes “Syria Comment,” a daily newsletter on Syrian politics that attracts over 100,000 readers a month. He frequently travels to Washington, D.C., to consult with government agencies and speak at think tanks. Most recently he has spoken at the Woodrow Wilson Institute, Brookings Institute, Middle East Institute, and Council on Foreign Relations.

Anderson studies the poetry and drama of the English Renaissance and the relationship between literature and religion. His first book, titled, “Martyrs and Players in Early Modern England: Tragedy, Religion, and Violence on Stage,” was published by Ashgate Press in 2014. Anderson’s next project will explore the theological implications of the pre-Christian setting of Shakespeare’s Greco-Roman plays.

Mitra teaches both honors and non-honors sections of Intermediate Microeconomic Theory, Labor Problems, and Economics of Discrimination. Mitra co-taught a Presidential Dream Course on “Economics of Discrimination” in 2009, and in 2013, she received the Patten Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences.

During their two-year terms, Presidential Teaching Fellows teach 3-credit-hour seminar courses to 19 to 22 students on topics relevant to the Honors Curriculum. Course topics must fall into six broadly defined subject areas including U.S. History; Foundational Texts and Ideas; Interpreting Arts and Culture; Interpreting Science Medicine, and Technology; Foundations of Diversity and Culture; and Power in the Global South.