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 Process

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

Applications are due by March 15, 2023.

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

2023 Recipients

ChaeRan Freeze
ChaeRan Freeze

Frances and Max Elkon Chair in Modern Jewish History

Nominator Comments

  • "Professor Freeze captivated her audience from day one to the day of the final. I honestly have never seen it before in my years at Brandeis. I can honestly say she is the first professor to hold my attention every class for an entire semester. For her passion and dedication to keeping the captivation of her students I believe professor Freeze deserves an award."
  • "Professor Freeze is very patient in and outside of the classroom. As an Asian student, I feel connected with Professor Freeze and my experiences in her class can never be found in any other classroom. I love discussing with her and I really admire her."
Adrianne Krstansky
Adrianne Krstansky

Louis, Frances, and Jeffrey Sachar Chair in Creative Arts

Nominator Comments

  • "Adrianne has changed my life. She facilitates a safe, supportive space for all students and opens us up to truly understanding each other. As a professor, she is sensitive to students needs, but pushes us to discover new abilities. In class, she allows students time to synthesis information and talk about how their lives outside of class relate to the material. I have never been so excited to go to class in my life. Learning feels natural with her. She allows us to teach each other, too."
  • "Outside of the classroom, she has spent hours helping me understand my own talents, direction, strengths, and weaknesses. I often visit Adrianne's office for answers. She has never turned me away. She never gives me them straightforwardly, but allows me to search for them within myself. This is so empowering and makes me feel like I have control over my education and my life."
  • "Adrianne has made me a better, more sensitive, critical, understanding student and person. She gives her students an amazing gift by teaching them. She is patient, kind, supportive, and critical. She sets high expectations for us not for bureaucratic purposes, but because she truly believes we can meet them. I have never felt like a professor has believed in me so much. I only hope that one day I can give someone the same creative, interpersonal, and collaborative power Adrianne has given to me."