Last Friday, University President John DeGioia announced in an email the 2015 recipients of the President’s Award for Distinguished Scholar-Teachers, Dr. Christian Wolf, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, and Dr. Derek Goldman, artistic director of the Davis Performing Arts Center and professor of theater and performance studies. Recipients will receive $10,000 a year for three years to support their scholarship and are to be recognized at the Fall Faculty Convocation on Oct. 14.
Lisa Krim, senior advisor to the President for faculty relations, explained that the awardees go above and beyond to connect their research with their teaching.
“[Integration of scholarship and education] is really the sweet spot for the work that our faculty does with our students. Those who do that well and really at a level of excellence are those that are rewarded with these awards,” Krim said.
Over his past fifteen years at Georgetown, Wolf noted that he has focused on researching stereochemistry and chiral compounds. He explained these compounds play an important role in developing efficient pharmaceutical drugs, while teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses.
“When I do research I learn, and I have my students and post-docs who learn with me,” Wolf said. “Sometimes I teach them some chemistry that I know, and sometimes they make discoveries and teach me what does work and what doesn’t work. So often I don’t know if I’m the teacher or if I’m the student.”
President DeGioia emphasized in his email the influence that Wolf has had in encouraging his students to add their own contributions to chemistry after their time learning with the chemistry professor.
“I like that this award is seeing the whole picture of both research and teaching, which I think should not be separate entities anyway. It’s certainly an honor to receive it,” Wolf said.
Goldman is the author of more than 30 professionally produced plays and adaptations, and has directed over 80 productions himself.
Goldman said that his past eleven years at Georgetown have been “a life-changing experience … to come to a university that leads with questions about the greater good with such energy around global work, and to be part of shaping a theater and performance studies program designed to connect in an interdisciplinary way students and colleagues who are doing that work has been amazing.”
President DeGioia’s also mentioned in his email that Goldman is the co-founder of the Laboratory of Global Performance and Politics, a partnership between the Department of Performing Art and the School of Foreign Service.
“Here [at Georgetown] we really see theater as an embodied way of knowing the world, as a true, rigorous, deep, interdisciplinary activity. Theater isn’t good at everything, but one thing it’s really good at is countering the polarization of the world. So I feel very humbled, but also just appreciative of what is around me,” Goldman said.
Goldman and Wolf will join five previous awardees as Presidential Fellows.
“These awards celebrate individuals who have made an extraordinary impact on our community through the integration of ambitious research and excellent student engagement,” wrote President DeGioia. “We believe that it is at the intersection of these endeavors—the formation of young people and unrestrained scholarly inquiry—that universities can make the most significant contributions to the world.”