Honoring ExcellenceGAMBIER, Ohio (April 10, 2012)
The Kenyon community came together on Tuesday, April 10, to celebrate the accomplishments of students, teachers, and mentors at the annual Honors Day Convocation. Highlighting the event was the awarding of the Trustee Teaching Excellence Awards, which went this year to Professor of Chinese Jianhua Bai and Associate Professor of Economics Jaret Treber. The awards recognize a senior and junior faculty member for "exemplary teaching informed by creative scholarship."
Bai won the award given to a tenured faculty member who has been on the Kenyon faculty for at least ten years. Treber won the award given to a faculty member who has been teaching at Kenyon fewer than ten years.
Bai, who joined the Kenyon faculty in 1991, was praised as an energetic and generous teacher who almost single-handedly built a robust Chinese-language program in which students regularly receive national accolades such as Fulbright awards. "By making Chinese interesting and fun (and occasionally gracing us with one of his stories from way back when)," wrote a student who nominated Bai, "he inspires all of us to learn as much as we can and as well as we can . . . When you see a teacher who puts in that amount of passion and teaches that well, you don't want him to see that you're not performing your best."
A specialist in foreign-language pedagogy, including computer-assisted language learning, Bai is recognized as a national leader in Chinese-language instruction. He has served as president of the Chinese Language Teachers Association and chairman of the College Board AP Chinese Language and Culture Development Committee. For the past nine summers, he has also directed the Chinese Summer School at Middlebury College. In addition, he has directed two study-abroad programs in China.
At Kenyon, in addition to teaching all levels of Chinese, he has at times directed the KILM, the Kenyon Intensive Language Model, and overseen the language lab of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. He has also served as chair of the department and director of the Asian Studies Program. Bai received his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh and his undergraduate degree from Hebei Teachers Universtiy.
Treber, who came to Kenyon in 2005, was praised for his enthusiasm, for making a sometimes daunting subject both accessible and enjoyable, and for the "meticulous organization" of his classes. "Professor Treber makes economics super accessible and is always willing to help out," wrote one student in nominating him. Another wrote that Treber "has a passion for economics and is dedicated to sharing his passion with his students. He makes every class intriguing and informative." A number of students cited his ability to use real-world examples and humorous anecdotes to convey ideas.
Treber is a specialist in health-care economics and economic history who has done research on the economic consequences of changes in American medical education, the redistribution of physicians from rural to urban areas, and the impact of medical advances on the welfare of society. At Kenyon, he has taught both of the introductory economics courses as well as "Industrial Organization," "Economics of Health," and "Sports Economics." He has also served as a pre-business advisor.
Treber received his B.A. at Western Washington University. Prior to completing his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona, he worked for three years as a financial analyst and as a manager of the premium rates department in the Medicare supplemental insurance industry at Olympic Health Management Systems in Bellingham, Washington.
The Trustee Teaching Excellence Awards carry a $5,000 stipend and were established the College's Board of Trustees in 1999-2000 to promote excellence by raising the visibility of outstanding teachers.