Five Hotchkiss instructors were awarded endowed teaching chairs at an All-School assembly on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The chairs, presented by Dean of Faculty Tom Drake, recognize faculty members for outstanding teaching and commitment to academic life.
Instructor in Economics Adam Lang received the Meredith Mallory George '78 Teaching Chair, a five-year position. Lang came to Hotchkiss in 2014; previously, he worked as an innovation manager for the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Healthcare Innovation, helping senior leadership implement design thinking to improve healthcare delivery and outcomes. His experience in that role led him to create a two-semester elective course at Hotchkiss called "Design for Social Impact," which is being offered for the first time this year.
Instructor in Philosophy and Religion Emma Wynn received the 1942 Teaching Chair, a five-year term. Wynn joined the Hotchkiss faculty in 2011 after spending three years as the head of the theology department at La Lumière School in La Porte, Indiana. Since 2013, Wynn has served as co-chair of the humanities department at Hotchkiss. She has taught a wide range of courses within the department, including "Human Nature and the Good Life," "Asian Religions," "Existentialism," and "LGBTQ United States History."
Instructor in Physics and Astronomy Bill Fenton received the William Elfers Teaching Chair, also a five-year position. Fenton came to Hotchkiss from Moultonborough Academy in New Hampshire, where he taught from 2004 to 2006. At Hotchkiss, Fenton designed the AP Physics I course, as well as other courses in astronomy and robotics. He played a key role in planning for the Hotchkiss Observatory, which opened last January. Fenton was also this year's recipient of the Berkshire Community Foundation's James C. Kapetyn Prize for excellence in teaching.
Instructor in Modern Language Abdoulaye Fall received the George Van Santvoord '08 Chair, a permanent chair. Fall, who came to Hotchkiss as a French instructor in 2005, began his teaching career in the public school system in Sedhiou, a small town in Senegal. After studying at the University of Wisconsin in Madison on a Fulbright Fellowship, Fall returned to Senegal for two years, then taught for one year in Poland before joining the modern language department at Hotchkiss. Fall recently completed an advanced certificate in Intercultural Communication from the Institute of Communication and Leadership in Lucerne, Switzerland; this year, he created a course on intercultural communication at Hotchkiss.
Instructor in Math Letty Downs received the George Norton and Jodie Stone Chair, a permanent chair. Downs came to Hotchkiss in 1991 after six years at the Holderness School in New Hampshire. She has participated in the Exeter summer program in science and mathematics, International Baccalaureate training at United World College at the North Carolina School of Science and Math, and the Summer Teaching Symposium at Hotchkiss. She also taught in the School Year Abroad program in Rennes, France, from 2001 to 2002. Downs will be the recipient of the 2017 Lufkin Prize, which recognizes contributions to the development of character in faculty members who serve as role models to students.
(Header photo, pictured left to right: Adam Lang, Emma Wynn, Abdoulaye Fall, Letty Downs, Bill Fenton)