School of Arts and Sciences

Professor Mark A. Ratner Distinguished Teaching Awards

The Professor Mark A. Ratner Distinguished Teaching Awards were created by Brandeis Trustee and alumnus Ronald Ratner ’69, along with his wife, Deborah Ratner. The inspiration for this gift stems from the couple's admiration for the liberal arts education Mr. Ratner received at his alma mater and in recognition of Mr. Ratner's parents' deep affection for the university. 

The Professor Mark A. Ratner Distinguished Teaching Awards recognize tenured faculty in the Divisions of Creative Arts and Humanities who demonstrate innovative teaching and extraordinary records of engaging, motivating, and inspiring students and making a difference in their students' educations, lives, and careers. Each Award winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize, a $15,000 teaching enhancement fund to foster innovative teaching methods and strengthen collaboration with students, as well as $5,000 to support the faculty member's research or creative activity. Two awards will be made each year.

The recipients will be selected by the Dean of Arts and Sciences upon the recommendation of a committee consisting of the Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Senior Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs, the Division Heads of Creative Arts and Humanities, and previous award recipients (after the first year). 

Contact Lauren Buckley, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs, with any additional questions.


The Professor Mark A. Ratner Distinguished Teaching Awards recognize tenured faculty in the Divisions of Creative Arts and Humanities. Faculty who have previously won a Ratner Award are not eligible to apply.

Selection Criteria

Recipients will be selected based on:

  • Demonstrated impact on student learning and development
  • Use of innovative, student-centered teaching practices
  • Integration of research and teaching and engagement of students in Creative Arts and Humanities research
  • Potential impact of proposed teaching enhancement plans
  • Evidence of teaching impact from course evaluations

Application/Nomination Process

To be considered for this award, applicants should submit the following form.

Applications are due by March 1, 2024.

We also welcome nominations; faculty who are nominated will be notified and encouraged to apply.

Nominations should also be submitted to Lauren Buckley by March 1, 2024. 

2024 Recipients

Joe Wardwell has wavy gray hair and wears a plaid shirt
Joe Wardwell

Professor of Painting

"Professor Wardwell encouraged and provided feedback on our individual missions, but also fostered a harmonious community wherein we could learn from one another and grow alongside each other." - Nominator
Aida has short black-brown hair
Aida Wong

Nathan Cummings and Robert B. and Beatrice C. Mayer Chair in Fine Arts and Professor of Fine Arts, East Asian Studies, and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

"Professor Aida Wong presents her knowledge with great depth and passion in class while making it accessible for students. She provides art history students with not only the knowledge about arts, but also life and career guidance that undergrad students really need. She is caring, elegant and friendly." - Nominator
Year Recipient Department(s)
2023 ChaeRan Freeze Near Eastern and Judaic Studies; Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
2023 Adrianne Krstansky Theater Arts