Professor Wendy Weber, senior lecturer of Political Science and chair of Human Rights and Humanitarianism, has been awarded the 2024 Jack and Marty Rossmann Excellence in Teaching Award that recognizes “a faculty member who has been identified by colleagues and students as exemplifying the teaching goals of Macalester College.”

Macalester President Suzanne Rivera announced the award and read from this citation:

Professor Wendy Weber, we are delighted to present you with the 2024 Jack and Marty Rossmann Excellence in Teaching Award.

As a faculty member in the Political Science Department, you bring deep scholarly expertise in contemporary global governance to your teaching. Your courses include Foundations of International Politics, Humanitarianism in World Politics, and Introduction to International Human Rights. You’ve also shaped Macalester’s curriculum through the Human Rights and Humanitarianism concentration, which you co-founded and led for eight years. In that role, you expanded community outreach and networking efforts, developed a seminar for seniors to synthesize their work and explore career paths, and supported internship experiences — including through the Amy Ostermeier Fund summer fellowship program.

Year after year, students praise what one alum calls your “unmatched ability to be both genuinely caring and intensely rigorous.” You create an inclusive, collaborative culture, often beginning class by asking students to list questions or confusions raised by the homework. One colleague describes your commitment to making the department a safe place for healthy debate and reflection: you encourage students to speak up in class, even — perhaps especially — if ideas are only half-baked, all in the spirit of generating a richer conversation. That approach works: you seamlessly balance “unrivaled skills as a lecturer while also orchestrating brilliant discussion.” You nurture scholarly curiosity, and emphasize reading texts generously and closely before turning to criticism.

You also shine through your excellence in advising. As one current student writes, “My greatest resource at Macalester has been Professor Wendy Weber.” You advise an incredible number of students — among the most of any faculty member — yet you remain accessible, supportive, and knowledgeable about opportunities and resources to all. You are a mentor and advocate — for students and colleagues alike. You support each step of the student journey, from designing a set of lessons focused on the first-year experience to providing thoughtful, direct guidance as an honors thesis supervisor. Colleagues notice your joy in this work: “I can testify to how warmly she describes her students, most often using the word ‘lovely,’” writes one professor. “She not only teaches them — she appreciates them, and makes sure they know it.”

Your care for the Macalester community extends across disciplines and beyond department boundaries. Among many roles, you’ve represented faculty on career exploration trips, served as the baseball team’s faculty liaison, and organized a food and supply drive for Afghan refugees. This year, you supported our Human Rights Organization in hosting the college’s inaugural student-led human rights conference. And many community members express gratitude for your efforts and leadership in hosting three contextual talks about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this year, navigating each conversation with grace, nuance, and empathy.

In the words of a student responding to a course survey: “Wendy is the kind of professor who has the capacity to change students’ lives and careers for the better. It’s rare to meet a professor who so thoroughly lives up to and surpasses her reputation. Wendy is one of a kind.” 

Professor Weber, it is our honor today to celebrate your dedication to your students, and the impact you’ve made on the Macalester community.

April 16 2024

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