by Craig Layne
Dickinson’s faculty has named Emily Pawley, associate professor of history and Walter E. Beach ’56 Chair in Sustainability Studies, as the 2023 recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award. The college’s highest teaching honor is determined by faculty voting and approved by the president at the conclusion of each academic year.
“She is a historian whose work draws on a plethora of fields, including science,” said then-Provost Neil Weissman of Pawley as he read from the citation for her award. “She is an activist who deploys history to engage wider world challenges. And she is a gifted teacher who epitomizes the vitality and dynamism of this liberal-arts college."
“When I came to Dickinson, it was really clear to me that I’d have to get better at teaching fast—the standard of teaching was so high here, and my colleagues were so thoughtful and creative—that what I’d been doing before, and had been pretty proud of, just didn’t compare,” Pawley explained. “I’ve learned so much from my colleagues, and to receive this honor from them is just overwhelming.”
Pawley’s teaching interests include environmental history, the history of capitalism, the history of the body, landscape history, the history of science and the history of food and food production.
“I realized how central collaboration and connection across the college has been to my teaching,” said Pawley. “It’s been much easier to make meaning with my students when I can link what we’re learning to the work of my colleagues in history, food studies and environmental studies; interest them in the big projects being done in Archives & Special Collections with College Archivist Jim Gerencser and Special Collections Librarian Malinda Triller-Doran; get them out to the College Farm with Farm Director Jenn Halpin and Special Projects Manager Matt Steiman; and get them into the community building on the work of Community Studies and Mosaics and the Center for Civic Learning and Action. I feel really lucky to be at a place where there are so many connections to be made."
Pawley is a graduate of the University of Toronto. She earned a master's of philosophy from Cambridge University and a master's of arts and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.
The Distinguished Teaching Award is supported by a permanent endowment funded by gifts from senior administrators.
Published July 10, 2023