Scripps College Students Name Piya Chatterjee Professor of the Year

Posted: May 8, 2014

Students, alumnae and faculty gathered at The Motley last week to both surprise and cheer on professor Piya Chatterjee after she was named “Professor of the Year.”  

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“I have been teaching in the United States for 20 years now, and to be recognized as a good teacher is the most amazing gift,” says Chatterjee, who taught at the University of California, Riverside for 18 years before joining Scripps in 2012. “It is the best part of my job — that every semester, I might have the opportunity to make a new friend, or be moved to respond differently to my world. It is magic.”

Students placed a homemade glittery paper crown on Chatterjee before presenting her with a “Professor of the Year” sash and ushering her to a throne on the Motley stage. Chatterjee was both surprised and humbled by the honor.

She has enjoyed meeting the students in her Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality studies classes. “They have been honest, kind and open-minded in ways that have been remarkable,” says Chatterjee, who earned her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College. “They teach me more than I teach them.”

Scripps students praised Chatterjee for all she brings to their Scripps experience:

“In the classroom, she does an excellent job taking complex theoretical materials and relating it to everyday experiences,” says student Anna Petkovich ’14, who is a dual major in feminist, gender, and sexuality studies and English. “I was delighted to hear she had won the ‘Professor of the Year’ award because she deserves recognition for the hugely inspiring effect she has on students.”

Emily Long, ’16, a dual major in economics and Hispanic studies from Pacific Grove, Calif., says Chatterjee is an “invaluable ally for students.”

“Piya’s energy and passion for her students and her community is inspiring,” Long says. “She encouraged me to discover my own voice.”

Professor Kimberly Drake, who was last year’s professor of the year, says she was not surprised when she heard students this year honored Chatterjee with the award.

“She has been a force for social justice and for student-centered education, and I have heard only rave reviews of her courses and her advising,” Drake says.

Since 2008, the entire student body has voted annually for one faculty member to be named “Professor of the Year.”

Chatterjee joins a select group of individuals who have been honored with this distinction. Past winners include Matt Delmont, Winston Ou, Marina Perez de Mendiola, Tony Crowley, Chris Guzaitis and Kimberly Drake.

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