Donna B. Hamilton Teaching Awards for excellence in undergraduate studies

Each year, the Office of Undergraduate Studies recognizes two faculty members for excellence in teaching: one faculty member teaching in an Undergraduate Studies Program, and one faculty member teaching in a General Education Program. The two honored faculty will receive $1,000 cash awards.

To chose the recipients, we ask UMD undergraduates: Has a faculty member...

Been a mentor or role model for you?

Changed or reinforced your career direction?

Improved your understanding of challenging material?

Made a difference in how you view the world?

This year's recipient of the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in the Office of Undergraduate Studies Programs is...

Peter Leone

Professor, Behavior Disorders, College of Education

From Willowbrook to Attica: Delinquency in the Context of Disability (HONR248)

Professor Leone introduced challenging topics into a forum of discussion that pushed the boundaries of the traditional classroom in his Delinquency in the Context of Disability course. He encouraged students to come into class having done their own weekly research, and assigned tasks that included writing to a Maryland House of Delegates committee in Annapolis and The Baltimore Sun. He also took students on a number of field trips to detention facilities.

"For most honors college students, the criminal justice system and disability issues are far removed from our daily lives. Professor Leone went out of his way to help us understand that these are realities that millions of Americans face..."

"Professor Leone's dedication to disability issues did not go unnoticed or unappreciated amongst his students. For me, personally, HONR248 played a large role in helping me decide that disability advocacy in the law is something I would like to pursue beyond college. His projects and assigned readings covered a wide range of topics in-depth, despite the constricting nature of spending only one semester in the class...

His encouragement of students to challenge their biases was the prevailing lesson, and it will stay with us all."

This year's recipient for the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in the General Education is...

Perla Guerrero

Associate Professor of American Studies and U.S. Latina/o Studies

Houses, Schools, and Prisons in American Life (AMST262)

"Dr. Guerrero modeled such amazing intellectual brilliance in the classroom that we could not help to admire and aspire to it. ... We learned to consider each other serious academics and respect each other's work. Outside of the classroom, she mentored students who continuously sought her out for more instruction, advice, and support."

"My classmates and I have kept in touch and continue to talk about how transformative her class has been. We are now more informed about the world around us, and we use the knowledge and tools we gained from her teaching to inform every decision we make.
The Office of Undergraduate Studies received scores of nominations from students. Thank you to each person who took time to write notes about the faculty members who have enriched the undergraduate experience at UMD. Thank you to each faculty member who taught and mentored students with dedication and distinction. We are grateful for your contributions.

About the Awards

The awards are named in honor of Donna B. Hamilton, former Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean for Undergraduate Studies. A Professor Emerita in the English department and previous Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Humanities, Dr. Hamilton was the 2015 recipient of the President's Medal.


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