Two UCI School of Humanities faculty receive teaching awards

Two UCI School of Humanities faculty receive teaching awards

 Office of the Dean October 5, 2020

Roland Betancourt, assistant professor of art history and visual studies, has received the School of Humanities Teaching Award; Jayne Lewis, professor of English, has received the Dean's Honoree for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

Two professors within the School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine have recently received awards for their pedagogical excellence. Roland Betancourt, assistant professor of art history and visual studies, has received the School of Humanities Teaching Award and Jayne Lewis, professor of English, has received the Dean’s Honoree for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching award.

Roland Betancourt, assistant professor of art history and visual studies, is known for taking his students outside of the classroom and into experiences that enrich their scholarship. Betancourt teaches courses on medieval art and architecture, often focusing on the afterlife of the Middle Ages in contemporary popular culture. In addition to several museum visits, his classes have included field trips to Medieval Times and projects such as the construction of medieval astronomical devices and the creation of illuminated manuscripts. Among his most popular courses is a general-education course entitled “Image Collision” and a graduate seminar called “The Ontological Turn.” Betancourt often incorporates guest speakers from Southern California and allows his students to witness various career paths open to art historians: professor, curator, consultant, and more.

The School of Humanities Teaching Award is an annual award given to exceptional School of Humanities faculty. Selection is through department nomination and reviewed by a committee chaired by the Associate Dean of Humanities Undergraduate Study.

“In his two years at UCI, Roland has shown remarkable initiative not only by presenting courses in his field of medieval and Byzantine art, but also by developing innovative courses that juxtapose art across vast spans of time and geography,” said Georges Van Den Abbeele, dean of the UCI School of Humanities.

Jayne Lewis, professor of English, is consistently recognized by her students for her “willingness to help” and a dedication to “commenting on written work.” Lewis has served as a mentor of Uteach, which helps undergraduate and graduate students become teachers, and has been instrumental in developing the Medical Humanities minor. In this upcoming year, Lewis will be the director of the School of Humanities Honors Program.

Lewis was recognized at the UCI Celebration of Teaching event on May 5, 2016, which is sponsored by the Academic Senate Council on Student Experience (CSE) and the Vice Provost for Teaching & Learning and hosted by the Center for Engaged Instruction.

“Professor Lewis’s teaching record for many years at UCI and, before that, at UCLA is extraordinary. She is an effective and beloved teacher whose course evaluation scores are consistently, year in and year out, some of the very highest in her department and in the School of Humanities,” Van Den Abbeele. “In fact, colleagues have remarked that it is almost disconcerting to read student comments for Professor Lewis’s courses. Students’ praise is so effusive and so sincere in every single category and across every class and type of course—from small seminar to large lecture—that it becomes hard to understand how anyone could rise to and maintain such levels of pedagogical excellence.”

To learn more about Betancourt’s scholarship, visit his faculty profile here. To learn more about Lewis’ scholarship, visit her faculty profile here.