The University of Mary Washington presented the Grellet C. Simpson Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching to Professor of English Maya Mathur at the general faculty meeting on August 16. This award, for which all full-time continuing faculty members are eligible. Simpson, UMW’s fourth president, is celebrated for his emphasis on academics and belief in the liberal arts tradition.
Dr. Kyle Schultz, chair of the University Sabbaticals, Fellowships & Faculty Awards Committee, announced the award, noting:
During the six years since earning associate professor rank, Dr. Mathur has created six new courses, including two popular First Year Seminars (FSEMs), tailored to the interests of 21st century students. Her courses, including Shakespeare and Popular Culture and From Cinderella to Harry Potter: Fairy Tales and Fantasy Literature, blend canon with modern topics and bring intellectual rigor by challenging students to examine issues of class, race, gender and power within these texts. She also designed her courses to support a variety of university programs at different levels, including multiple majors, the general education program, and the honors program.
Dr. Mathur is also an exemplary practitioner, building choice into her assignment for which students can select traditional or creative outlets to demonstrate their learning. Colleagues have praised Dr. Mathur’s course organization techniques, noting meticulously constructed Canvas pages and use of applications such as Padlet and Flipgrid to engage students. She has shared her innovative ideas with faculty across campus, working with the Teaching Center to co-sponsor workshops.
Dr. Mathur teaches such departmental courses as ENGL 295: Methods of Advanced Literary Studies, ENGL 319: Shakespeare: The Early Plays, ENGL 320 – Shakespeare: Later Plays, and ENGL 202N: Writing about Women.