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JMC Professors Receive Inaugural Ken and Sandy Waltzer Teaching Excellence Award

June 11, 2020

James Madison College professors Colleen Tremonte and Daniel Ahlquist have been selected by the Faculty Affairs Committee as the first two recipients of the Ken and Sandy Waltzer Teaching Excellence Awards.
The awards are named for Professor Emeritus Ken Waltzer and his wife Sandy and were established to support teaching excellence in the college. While James Madison has a longstanding tradition of teaching excellence, it has not had its own award to honor or highlight teaching excellence as a key element in the College’s culture. The Waltzer Teaching Excellence Endowment was created to establish annual funding for these awards.  The Waltzer Awards recognize special teaching achievement, significant impact on students, substantial contribution to curriculum, and successful mentoring of colleagues.
Professor Colleen Tremonte is the recipient of the Senior Waltzer Award in recognition of her exceptional teaching. Professor Tremonte teaches in Comparative Cultures and Politics and Humanities, Cultures, and Writing and was one of the founding faculty members of the CCP major. She has served as director of the MSU Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Teaching Fellows Program, a joint initiative between James Madison College and the MSU Graduate School. Professor Tremonte has previously been recognized with the inaugural Michigan State University President’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2016), MSU’s Lilly Teaching Fellows Program (1997-1998), an MSU Teacher–Scholar Award (1998-1999), and the Mid-Michigan Alumni Club Quality in Undergraduate Teaching Award (2001). Her research and teaching interests include interdisciplinary theory and pedagogy; film, gender, and genre; national cinemas; and, visual cultural studies and displacement.
Professor Daniel Ahlquist, recognized with the Junior Waltzer Award, joined James Madison College in the fall of 2016 and has made an immediate and lasting impact on students since his arrival. He teaches in the Social Relations & Policy (SRP) and Humanities, Culture & Writing (HCW) fields, and is also affiliated with the Science, Technology, Environment and Public Policy (STEPP) minor, Peace & Justice Studies, and Asian Studies. Professor Ahlquist’s research explores the socio-ecological dimensions of conservation, agrarian change, development, and climate change in upland Indigenous communities in northern Thailand and riparian communities in the Lower Mekong River Basin. His teaching focuses on human-nature relations, food systems, and environmental justice.
This endowment was made possible through the generous contributions of former students, friends and family of Ken and Sandy and the Waltzers themselves.  If you would like to contribute to the Waltzer Teaching Excellence Endowment, please contact Rocky Beckett at James Madison College, (517) 432-2117 or beckettr@msu.edu.