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Dickinson College Faculty Members Select Recipient of Their Highest Honor

Alyssa DeBlasio receives Distinguished Teaching Award

by Christine Baksi

Alyssa DeBlasio, associate professor of Russian, recently received the 2019-20 Distinguished Teaching Award, which recognizes excellence in teaching and is the highest honor given to a Dickinson faculty member. Recipients are determined by faculty voting and approved by the president.

“It’s a real honor to be recognized by my colleagues for this award, especially at a time when our normal ways of teaching have been uprooted,” said DeBlasio. “I’m very lucky to be part of Dickinson’s network of innovative, internationally recognized language teachers and researchers, who managed to do the impossible this semester—to take language courses online (in 12 languages!) with only a week’s notice.”

DeBlasio’s students laud her “commitment to fairness and care for all students,” and describe her classes as “intellectually challenging.” For the past five years, she has worked with students to compile a digital, bilingual archive of the diaries of Vladimir Petrushevsky, Russia’s first volcanologist. The translation work is part of her yearly course, Workshop in Translation, a senior seminar in practical translation skills. DeBlasio also has recently taught courses in philosophy and literature, Russian popular culture and media (in Russian) and Russian film of the Putin era, and she led the development of a certificate in Teaching for the Digital Age on behalf of Dickinson’s Moscow partner, Russian State University for the Humanities.

“As one would wish of a Distinguished Teacher, she brings students into her scholarly world,” said Neil Weissman, provost and dean of the college. “As an advisor, she carries her students elsewhere as well—to impressive graduate school placements, to Fulbright scholarships and to engaging careers. Through her work with our program in Moscow, she adds strength to the college’s character as a global campus.”

In service to the college, DeBlasio has chaired the Russian department since 2015 and contributes to the film studies program and philosophy department. For three years, she has served on Dickinson’s Fulbright Committee as a fellowship advisor.

DeBlasio holds a bachelor’s degree from Villanova University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.

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Published May 20, 2020