Students Honor Selvin, Smith, and Armour with Huddleson Teaching Awards

Professors Troy Smith, Phil Armour, and Molly Selvin received the Huddleson Teaching Award for 2017-18 (and 2016-17) from students John Hamm and Rachel Perera

Photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

June 18, 2018

For two years running, Professors Molly Selvin and Troy Smith received the Huddleson Teaching Award for excellence in teaching an elective and a core course (respectively). In 2017, Professor Phil Armour also received the award for teaching an elective. All three received their awards at the 2018 Pardee RAND Graduate School Commencement Ceremony.

Students vote each year, but the award is presented biennially. The incoming cohort votes on the award given to a core course professor, and all other students vote for the elective course professor(s).

Agnes Wang (cohort '17) explained why she voted for Professor Smith, who taught Microeconomics I: "He is very passionate about teaching, very good at what he teaches, very articulate, combines theories with real life examples, and is very much willing to help his students."

Rushil Zutshi ('17) concurred: "I voted for him because I think he hits the sweet spot in terms of theory and application. He encourages discussions in class that may be slightly tangential but really help in grounding concepts better, he gives really interesting homework and exams, and he's very affable even outside of class and just an all-around great guy. I think it shows in class as well in his patience and approachability as well."

Gulrez Azhar ('14) audited Professor Selvin's History of Public Policy course and shared his thoughts: "The way she conducted the course was inspirational. We were expected to read and then discuss the topic of the day in class. Come having done your readings, no electronics allowed, don’t be late; those missing a class were politely reminded. Though none of that was needed, the class itself was so interesting!

"Many of the chosen issues were strongly emotive and partisan," Azhar added. "Many — perhaps including some of us — are so strongly sure of the correctness of our opinions without bothering to understand the other side; especially in these days of Truth Decay. But the way Molly treated the issues in class was so different. We would try to understand where different constituents come from. To a non-American — me — it was a magical insight in the U.S. policymaking process: the consensus building, give and take, history repeating itself, interpreting the law, values, etc. Many of my simplistic assumptions were rightfully shattered. She expertly steered the class through this learning experience. We also tried coming up with some solutions to seemingly intractable problems. It sure was a journey and I am left wanting for more!"

David Catt ('16) commented, "Molly is a very good teacher. First, she brilliantly covers her subject matter; her legal and historical analysis training and experience are very evident as is the diversity of her professional experiences as a journalist, researcher, and educator. Second, she is also very engaging and did a good job of facilitating discussion among the students and challenging us to engage. It was enjoyable to participate in the class each week."

Congratulations to all three professors!