Two UCI School of Humanities faculty receive teaching awards

Two UCI School of Humanities faculty receive teaching awards

 Office of the Dean April 29, 2020

Emily Baum and Bert Winther-Tamaki named in Celebration of Teaching pedagogical awards

Emily Baum, associate professor of history, and Bert Winther-Tamaki, professor of art history and visual studies and chair of the Department of Art History, have been recognized for their excellence in undergraduate teaching by UCI’s Celebration of Teaching, an annual series of awards conferred upon UCI instructors for their pedagogical excellence, sponsored by the Academic Senate Council on Teaching, Learning, & Student Experience (CTLSE) and the Vice Provost for Teaching & Learning.

Baum was named UCI’s Dr. De Gallow Professor of the Year. She was competitively selected from campus-wide nominations from peers, colleagues and students by the members of the CTLSE. Nominators painted her as an innovative instructor and tireless mentor, citing her ability to engage students immediately in history.

An expert of modern Chinese history and the history of medicine, Baum authored The Invention of Madness: State, Society, and the Insane in Modern China (The University of Chicago Press, 2018), which explores attitudes towards psychiatry in twentieth-century China. In 2019, she earned a Fulbright Scholar Research Grant to conduct research in China for her second book project, tentatively titled Twists of Fate: Fortune Telling and Divination in Contemporary China.

“I'm deeply honored to be named the Dr. De Gallow Professor of the Year,” said Baum. “As much as I hope to instill in my students a love of history, the truth is that they have shaped my teaching—and my thinking—in innumerable ways. It is beyond thrilling to know that they have been as inspired by my efforts as I have been of theirs.”

Bert Winther-Tamaki was named the School of Humanities Dean’s Honoree for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. School of Humanities Dean Tyrus Miller noted that Professor Winther-Tamaki’s outstanding teaching came to the school’s attention through a student in his course on ‘Art and Globalization: India, Japan, and Mexico’ who took the initiative to nominate him. Professor Winther-Tamaki has been dedicated to creating unique experiential learning opportunities for art history students, particularly internships. The Department of Art History has regularly awarded grants to students to support their work as unpaid interns at art museums and various art-related organizations on campus and in the community. This program has contributed substantially to undergraduate education by transitioning students from academic study of art history to career-launching experiences.

Winther-Tamaki is an expert on the history of modern Japanese art and visual culture. He is the author of Art in the Encounter of Nations: Japanese and American Artists in the Early Postwar Years (University of Hawaii Press, 2001) and Maximum Embodiment: Yoga, the "Western Painting" of Japan, 1910-1955 (University of Hawaii Press, 2012). He is currently writing, The Soil is Dead: Earthy Substances in Contemporary Japanese Art, which investigates potter's clay, top-soil, landfill, beach sand and riverbank pebbles as they were manifested in ceramics, photography, and installation art in Japan since the 1950s.

“I am extremely grateful for this award and to the UCI students whose remarkable accomplishments make my job so gratifying. Their insights, discoveries, and critical perspectives have had a great impact on my practice of art history, helped me reframe my research to be more meaningful in the perilous world they face so bravely,” Tamaki said. “The Art History Department is dedicated to making art history relevant to the needs and aspirations of students and if this award signifies a degree of success, it is not only an honor but an inspiration to redouble the effort.”

“I’m incredibly proud of both Emily Baum and Bert Winther-Tamaki for being recognized by their peers, colleagues and students for their exceptional instruction,” said Miller.