Brian Min, director of undergraduate studies in the department of political science at the University of Michigan, has announced that Mark Tessler is the recipient of this year's Tronstein Award. The Tronstein Award is the department’s highest recognition for excellence in undergraduate education.
Here are Brian's remarks about Mark's fabulous teaching:
There’s never been a more important time to teach political science. For many students this year, it was your classroom, and perhaps only your classroom, where they could process and productively work through what is going on in the world around them.
We received 33 nominations from our students. This was not an easy choice.
This year‘s winner is no stranger to difficult or controversial topics. For years, our winner has led students through discussions of highly polarized issues and themes. He teaches one of the most challenging courses in our curriculum, given the politics surrounding the topic. Our winner takes the responsibility to lead students through emotionally charged, challenging material. His students say he creates an environment of openness and evenhandedness. Given the tenor of our times, we are especially grateful for how he doesn’t shy away from tough, divisive issues, but instead leads students through them in a balanced, analytical way.
Not many of us would choose to teach a class where the one thing people can agree on is that no one agrees on anything. But our winner does this every year in his class on the Arab-Israeli conflict. He receives consistently high ratings and his students are deeply appreciative of his efforts. One says that our winner is "a unique, dynamic teacher who tackles incredibly complex material in a nuanced and thoughtful way."
“He respectfully challenges opinions.” Another student is grateful for how our winner “presents such a delicate issue in a balanced and holistic manner."
On behalf of the undergraduate affairs committee (Brian Min, Yuen Ang, Chris Fariss, Vince Hutchings) and the department, we are thrilled to announce this year‘s winner of the Tronstein Award is Mark Tessler.