The Teaching Award is presented annually to the individual who best exemplifies the qualities of a college educator. The recipient is selected from nominations submitted by faculty to the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. If there was ever a year where flexibility in planning and delivery, an ability to pivot from one platform to another, and a capacity to mentor with compassion and empathy under trying circumstances was highly valued then 2020 undoubtedly fits the bill, and we are delighted to honor Evan Dethier with this year's Teaching Award.
Evan moved to Vermont in 2011 during the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene and taught earth sciences and current events at middle and high school. It was here that he developed a talent for embracing disruption as he realized his meticulously planned and timed lessons were going to fall in priority for his ambitious skier students. From a carefully mapped out design, Evan quickly revamped his material in response to his students' variable and unpredictable schedules while still achieving the academic rigor and knowledge demanded of them.
Evan brought this talent to Dartmouth in 2013 when he joined the Earth Sciences program to work with his thesis advisors Mark McPeek and Frank Magilligan whose work and interests in the interaction between humans and the environment they inhabit aligned with his, and he was afforded numerous opportunities to hone his already robust teaching skills, in particular enjoying the opportunity to participate in the Stretch. But, like all exceptional teachers, Evan finds most reward in mentoring students. "When we're working in a group of several students with overlapping projects, the exchange of ideas and contrasting learning/research styles is really fun," he says. "I get inspired to work on my part of the project, and contribute to the whole group, and I think the students do too."
More than serving as teaching assistant for 11 undergraduate courses since arriving at Dartmouth, Evan remarkably stepped up to support Earth Sciences faculty when unforeseen circumstances left a class without an instructor, supported the transition of complex hydrology field labs to develop seven online labs to meet the demands of the new virtual learning environment. Evan has demonstrated excellence in remote mentoring during the pandemic, calmly coping with technical issues experienced by the remote learners and embracing the chaos to discover opportunities for development. "I'm also learning better how to keep morale high as we grind through difficult or technical concepts, and hopefully students hang with it until they get to the reward on the other side," he acknowledges.
Evan has demonstrated an excellence in mentoring and supporting undergraduates, peers, and colleagues alike and we are proud to award such a talented individual with this year's Teaching Award. Congratulations, Evan!