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Hollenback, Lui named Syracuse University’s 2008 Meredith Professors
Hollenback, Lui named Syracuse University’s 2008 Meredith ProfessorsApril 10, 2008Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
Sharon Hollenback, professor of television, radio and film in theS.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, andEric M. Lui, associate professor and chair of the civil and environmental engineering department in theL.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (LCS), have been named Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professors of Teaching Excellence. The professorships recognize and award outstanding teaching at Syracuse University.
Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor and Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric F. Spina will recognize Hollenback and Lui as the 2008 Meredith Professors at a reception, Thursday, April 17, at 4 p.m. in the Goldstein Alumni and Faculty Center.
The Meredith Professorships were created in 1995 with a substantial bequest from the Meredith estate. The program seeks to recognize and reward outstanding teaching, and fosters research and dialogue on teaching excellence. Two Meredith Professors are named each year to engage in investigations of teaching and learning. They are enrolled for life in theMeredith Symposium as a sign of honor and to provide an ongoing forum for the discussion of teaching excellence.
Each recipient of the honor is designated a Meredith Professor for a period of three years. For each of the three years, recipients are provided a supplementary salary award, a fund to support their research, and additional money to be used in developing their academic unit.
Sharon HollenbackHollenback has been a member of the Newhouse faculty for more than 30 years, teaching undergraduate- and graduate-level communications and screenwriting courses.
Among her academic initiatives, she founded and coordinates the NBC Olympics Internship Program at SU, working in collaboration with NBC since 2004 to facilitate the opportunity for Newhouse students to serve as interns at the summer and winter Olympic Games. For all of the interns selected for the NBC Olympics Internship Program, including those from other colleges and universities, Hollenback serves as NBC’s Olympic intern coordinator, facilitating students’ orientation and logistical arrangements in the months prior to the games and serving as intern coordinator during the games.
Building on the learning opportunities that the Olympic Games present, Hollenback has proposed for a Meredith project “World of the Olympics: Issues and Controversies of the Games,” a new course open to students from all majors that will focus attention on important issues related to the games and the broader Olympic movement, including the issues of nationalism in the Olympics; historical boycotts and political conflicts at the games; race and gender; performance-enhancing drugs and international standards for testing; media coverage and commercial sponsorships; and impact on host cities.
“What excites me most is the opportunity to explore with students important issues surrounding the Olympic movement, in general, and the Beijing games in particular,” says Hollenback. “For students from various majors, looking at the games in this larger framework is an opportunity to apply substantial exploration and academic rigor to tackling some realistic, global and complex issues.” As part of the course, Hollenback plans to include an outreach component whereby SU students would deliver in-depth presentations on the central Olympic issues to students in local high schools; this outreach would be possible through Meredith project support and offered through the Partnership for Better Education.
In addition to managing the competitive Olympic Internship Program, Hollenback has initiated several additional programs for students, including Readers Theatre, which allows seniors to showcase their screenplays to the public near graduation, and A Writers in Residence program at Newhouse that gives students the chance to interact with professionals in the screenwriting industry and have their scripts professionally critiqued.
Hollenback became a professor at Newhouse in 1994 and was named the first communications department chair in 1996. She has taught abroad many times at SU’s international centers and oversees Newhouse offerings through SU Abroad. In addition to teaching, she advises both undergraduate and graduate students in television, radio and film, and also works closely with the Newhouse students involved in theRenee Crown University Honors Program. In 2007, she received the annual Best Teaching Award from the Newhouse senior class. In 1993, she was named Outstanding University Teacher by the SU Alumni Association.
On teaching communications, Hollenback notes: “I try to help students become sensitive, independent thinkers who can negotiate the intricate systems that produce content, while simultaneously searching for those authentic moments that tap into our humanity. I show them how to become aware of the impact media have on society, how to constantly seek to be worthy of our many audiences and publics, and to be mindful of our responsibility to them.”
Hollenback holds a bachelor’s degree in history, a master’s degree in American studies and a Ph.D in communications from the University of Texas at Austin.
Eric M. LuiLui has been a faculty member in LCS since 1986 and teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of mechanics, materials, numerical methods, and structural analysis and design. He regularly teaches some of the most rigorous and challenging engineering courses, and also serves as chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Lui’s Meredith proposal is the creation of an elective course to bridge the technical and non-technical components within studies of sustainable development and technology. Open to all majors, the course will allow students to take a holistic approach to examine the various elements of a sustainable environment that include diversity, interdependence, adaptability, redundancy and resource conservation. The course will also provide historical context for the green movement — including its political and economic history — and an accurate understanding of the contemporary “green” terms and practices that help define current environmental conservation efforts, such as the greenhouse effect, the energy star system, alternative fuels, carbon emissions and carbon footprint, among others.
According to Lui, the course will work within a cooperative learning module, which is an instructional method wherein students work in a group setting that facilitates seeking outcomes that benefit themselves and the entire working group. The course content would be taught through case studies, group projects, lectures, demonstrations and invited guest speakers who can share their perspectives on the technical, social, economic and political aspects of practicing “green.”
“Students in technical majors that require non-technical course credits cannot always relate the importance of these non-technical courses to their majors. Conversely, students in non-technical majors that have science or technical electives in the curricula do not always see how these subjects can play an important role in their career,” says Lui. “Technology and humanity often go hand in hand, and together they form a symbiosis pair that advances the human race. For all students to be able to work together effectively toward a common goal, they need to understand each other’s language, perspective and concerns.”
Lui’s approach to teaching is based on the belief that different students learn differently and in order to maximize the transfer of knowledge, a mix of traditional and non-traditional teaching methods often results in the greatest success. “One approach that I often use in teaching is to bring current events and real-life examples into the classroom,” he says. “For instance, the tragedies that befell the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia in 1986 and 2003, respectively, allowed me to discuss the important of temperature loading on space structures. The wind storm that struck Onondaga County in 1998 provided me with a chance to highlight the devastating effect of wind load. I love teaching, and I take pride in the success of my students.”
In 2007, Lui was named College Educator of the Year by the Technology Alliance of Central New York (TACNY) for his contributions to the growth of technology within the Central New York region and throughout the world. In addition to his classroom instruction, he also dedicates many hours to mentoring and advising students on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He is also the faculty advisor to the SU Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), which has received numerous awards and citations from ASCE headquarters for its activities and work with the community.
Lui received a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in civil engineering (with emphasis in structural engineering) from Purdue University.