April 8, 2016

By Simon Goodacre | Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

The 2016 University Prize Instructorship (UPI) has been awarded to six doctoral students in Anthropology, History, Music Composition, Neuroscience, and Psychology. The instructors will be awarded a $6,000 stipend and the opportunity to design their own course for undergraduate students. A faculty committee selected the award recipients. Applicants are judged on their syllabus, recommendations from their advisors and their teaching fellow evaluations. The relevant department chairs determine whether their proposed courses will be a helpful addition to the department’s existing offering.

“The University Prize Instructorship is a wonderful opportunity not only for graduate students, but also our undergraduate population,” said Eric Chasalow, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. "Teaching experience is an important aspect of the education that we provide at GSAS, and the University Prize Instructors develop really exciting courses every year, making this a win-win for our students and the university as a whole."

The instructors will begin teaching their courses in the Fall or Spring of the 2016-17 academic year.

Read more about the 2016 University Prize Instructors.

Victoria Cheah

"Sound and Experience: Anti-establishment Art Music"

My course focuses on contemporary music that challenges established ideas, conventions, and contexts. What kind of experiences can music give us? How can sound provide artistic and political commentary and institutional critique? We will explore these questions and more with musical works that extend, comment, or question the Western art music tradition.

Veronica Flores and Joseph Wachutka

"Introduction to Learning and Behavior"

Our course is designed to give students a broad introduction to the adaptability of behavior through the lens of prevalent theories on learning and memory. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to learning and behavior that integrates neuroscience and psychology.  The course will place emphasis on memory, evolution, machine learning and education.

April French

"Women in Christianity: A Transnational Modern History, 1517-2017"

My course will examine the social and cultural history of women in Christianity in the modern period. We will cover the three main branches of Christianity on six continents. Particular attention will be paid to the everyday lives and spiritual imaginations—the lived religion—of Christian women in the past 500 years. Students from history, religious studies, WGS, and IGS will benefit from this course.

Amy Hanes

"Us and Them: Multispecies Anthropology"

This course charts anthropology’s “multispecies turn” and challenges us to reconsider well established concepts, including “species,” “culture”, and the “social.” We will assemble new theoretic and methodological tools from recent multispecies literature that will enable us to explore how gender, race, and nation shape and have been shaped by human engagements with non-human beings. 

Adriane G. Otopalik


My course explores the neural mechanisms underlying fascinating behaviors across the animal kingdom: insect flight, bat echolocation, prey detection in electric fish, and more. In studying diverse nervous systems, we will gain insight regarding how discoveries in a niche of neuroscience, Neuroethology, have contributed to our fundamental understanding of nervous system function.