EALC Faculty and Teaching Fellow Recognized for Achievements in Undergraduate Pedagogy

May 19, 2020

Left to right: Robson, Li, and Tsai
Left to right: Professor James Robson, Professor Jie Li, and Catherine Tsai


This month, two EALC faculty members and one PhD candidate were recognized for their achievements in teaching undergraduate courses at Harvard.


James Robson, James C. Kralik and Yunli Lou Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and William Fung Director of the Harvard University Asia Center, is being honored for his work as a teacher and mentor with a Harvard College Professorship. These five-year appointments include support for research and other scholarly activities thanks to a 1997 gift from John and Frances Loeb. In mentoring undergraduates, Robson particularly encourages study abroad--to “get students away from Harvard and out into the world as much as possible.” In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Robson is devoting a great deal of thought to new ways of getting students interested in other cultures and languages without actual physical travel. “Receiving this honor gave me a little push to think of the next round of teaching in a more interesting way,” Professor Robson said.


Jie Li, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, was one of two faculty recipients of the 2020 Roslyn Abramson Award for excellence in teaching undergraduates. This $10,000 prize, originating from a gift of Edward Abramson ’57, is awarded to assistant or associate faculty members whose work demonstrates “accessibility, dedication to teaching and research, and ability to effectively communicate with and inspire undergraduates.” Professor Li was particularly recognized for her recent courses titled “Documenting China on Film” and the Gen Ed class “East Asian Cinema.” In December 2020, Duke University Press will publish her latest book, Utopian Ruins: A Memorial Museum of the Mao Era. Her next book project studies the exhibition and reception of cinema in socialist China, including movie theatres and open-air screenings, projectionists and audiences, as well as memories of revolutionary and foreign films.


Finally, Harvard's Levenson Memorial Teaching Prize, created to honor the late Professor of Chinese History Joseph R. Levenson, recognizes “specially skilled and dedicated teachers of undergraduate courses and sections.” Nominations for the award, which is bestowed on one senior faculty member, one junior faculty member, and one teaching fellow, come from students in their courses or teaching sections. This year Catherine Tsai, Ph.D. candidate in HEAL/Japan in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, was selected by the Undergraduate Council by virtue of overwhelming positive feedback from her section students. Fernando Urbina, a member of the Council, commended Tsai for demonstrating “compassion and a strong desire to assist undergraduate students in many ways both within and outside of [her] roles as a Harvard affiliate.”


The EALC would like to extend enthusiastic congratulations to these three members of our teaching community!


This news item was adapted primarily from Harvard Gazette Articles Five faculty members named Harvard College Professors and Faculty recognized for teaching and mentoring. Click links to read full stories.