A passion for teaching probabilities

After more than a decade of teaching the same graduate courses–Statistical Methods I and Statistical Methods II–Azhar Nizam is sometimes asked if he gets bored.

“Never,” he says. “I learn from each new class. I try to approach teaching as a cooperative venture, not the all-knowing professor in front of a classroom. My students are from the fields of medicine, nursing, public health. . . . They are a phenomenal group with lots of experiences.”

Nizam was one of five Emory faculty to receive a Crystal Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching this spring from the Student Government Association and Office of Residence Life.

As a senior associate in the Department of Biostatistics at the Rollins School of Public Health, Nizam often creates lessons using actual data sets collected during research–for example, numbers showing the exponential spread of infectious diseases like the flu, cholera, or smallpox.

“Biostatistics is a way to read information with understanding, a method for unlocking meaning contained in all of the data people collect,” he says. “I want my students to leave saying, ‘Yes, I can make use of that.’ ”

Other 2002 Crystal Apple recipients were: Mark Auslander, assistant professor of anthropology at Oxford College, for undergraduate seminar; Cathy Caruth, professor of English, for graduate teaching; Vincent Murphy, associate professor of theater studies, for creative and performing arts; and Randall Strahan, associate professor of political science, for undergraduate lecture. Matthew Payne, associate professor of history, received the Bill Fox Award for Emerging Excellence.–M.J. L.

Commencement 2002 Faculty Honors

Al L. Hartgraves, professor of accounting at Goizueta Business School, received the 2002 University Scholar/Teacher Award. Known as a rigorous, innovative, and scrupulously fair teacher, Hartgraves was listed as an “Outstanding Faculty Member” in the Business Week Guide to the Best Business Schools. He came to Emory in 1980 and has served as senior associate dean, faculty dean, and acting dean of the business school. Hartgraves also has co-authored more than fifty professional publications, as well two standard accounting texts. He was chosen by President William M. Chace from nominations made by the University deans.

The Thomas Jefferson Award was presented to Irwin Townsend Hyatt Jr., senior associate dean of Emory College and associate professor of history, in recognition of his significant service to the University through personal activities, influence, and leadership. For more than fifty years, Hyatt has been a part of the Emory community as a student, faculty member, chair of the history department, and dean. He has won the Emory Williams Award for College Teaching and five Phi Beta Kappa teaching awards. Despite years of unusually heavy course loads, the hallmark of Hyatt’s teaching has been his care and concern for each student. Hyatt is retiring this year.

Professor of Anthropology George Armelagos won the George P. Cuttino Award for Excellence in Mentoring, a prize established in 1997 by John T. Glover ’68C to recognize a professor who has reached out to students both inside and outside the classroom.

The Emory Williams Awards for Distinguished Teaching, established in 1972 by Emory Williams ’32C, are the University’s oldest faculty awards. The 2002 Williams Award recipients include:

Rose B. Cannon, associate professor, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

Andrea Hershatter, lecturer in organization and management, assistant dean, and director of the bachelor of business administration program at Goizueta Business School

Cathryn Johnson, associate professor of sociology

Steven W. L’Hernault, associate professor of biology

Sally Radell, associate professor of health, physical education, and dance, and chair of the dance program

Susan B. Riner, Oxford College senior lecturer in mathematics

John Witte, Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Ethics