Senior Vice President and Provost Marcella David announced the four winners of Columbia’s 2022 Excellence in Teaching Awardearlier this month.
She also noted all four have fascinating teaching ideologies that have helped students embrace the spirit and passion they each have for their respective subjects.
Susan Kerns, Associate Professor, Cinema and Television Arts
An Iowa native, Kerns wanted to teach ever since she was little. Kerns said she has a deep-rooted recollection of a teacher who gave her unused worksheets she usedto play “school” withduring the summer.
“It seemed weirdly magical,” saidKerns, who also serves as the associate chair in her department. “It was something that stuck with me that education could be exciting and it could be fun and it could be play. It didn’t just have to take place in a classroom proper.”
Today in Kerns’ classroom, she saidstudents have helped her view professionalism in the film industry differently.
“Filmmaking can be kind of a dream job; there tends to be some bad behavior that people [in the industry] let go and the next generation is not having it, and I think that’s great. It’s been awesome to work with younger people because they keep me on my toes in terms of my assumptions about what professionalism is,” Kerns said.
Kerns also teaches cinema and media theory at Columbia.
“I like teaching theory,” Kerns said. “It opens students’ eyes to seeing movies and what content they deal with, the way they’re shot, the way that they’re put together and how they relate to society.”
Tasha Oren was Kerns’ Ph.D. adviserfrom the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and Catherine MacGillivraywas Kerns’ master’s adviser at the University of Northern Iowa. Kerns said she credits bothmentors for why she received the Excellence in Teaching Award.
Being recognized as one of the Excellence in Teaching Awardrecipients feels great, Kerns said. She said she bought a new dress as a reward for winning because she thinks it is important to celebrate accomplishments.
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