Brian Min, Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan, has announced that Rob Mickey is the recipient of the 2019 Tronstein Award. The Tronstein Award is given in recognition of innovative and outstanding teaching of undergraduate students in the University of Michigan Department of Political Science.
Here are the fabulous things Brian Min said about Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, and 2019 Tronstein Awardee Rob Mickey at the faculty meeting:
I’m happy to announce the winner of this year's Tronstein award for innovative and outstanding teaching of undergraduates. It’s our department’s highest teaching honor. I’m grateful to have worked with the Undergraduate Affairs Committee on this: Edie Goldenberg, Rick Hall, Ragnhild Nordaas, Mara Ostfeld.
We asked students for their nominations and asked them to say a few words. We were overwhelmed. Students wrote 6000 words in support of 69 nominations for 25 different instructors. It’s abundantly clear how much your students appreciate you, so to all of you, thank you for your teaching.
In the end, we had a clear winner. This professor is beloved by his students. He is a great teacher and has Q2 scores as you might expect: 4.9s and 4.8s even in huge classes. Students say he is ”amazing”, a “passionate instructor”, a “fantastic professor.” I like this one: “The professor was a great and funny lecturer. Very smart and engaging, kept me from falling asleep many times.”
But beyond the teaching of class material, students repeatedly talked about how this professor truly cares about them and their experience here at Michigan. They mentioned the inordinate amount of time he spends in office hours, answering questions and helping students in their classes. One student who was struggling in class described an extended conversation in which the professor, first, took an interest in who they were as a person, and second, transformed their outlook on learning by teaching them about fixed and growth mindsets. It was a transformational semester for the student who is now planning to become a school teacher. The student says “I would not have been able to enjoy learning as I now can if it wasn't for this professor. Furthermore, since I plan to teach in elementary school, this professor has impacted the lives of (likely) hundreds of other future students.”
This year, I think it’s also noteworthy that he drew many students into the major by teaching one of our most important gateway courses (111 intro to American) and also shepherded many of our very top graduating students in the senior honors seminar (493/4). You also heard he directs our grad program. So for all these reasons, we are happy to announce that the winner of this year’s Tronstein Award is Rob Mickey.