Holt first anthropology professor to receive Paul Simon Outstanding Teacher Award

In the roughly 15 years of its existence, anthropology professor Julie Holt is the first in her department to receive the Paul Simon Outstanding Teacher Award.

Anthropology professor Julie Holt is the first in her department to receive the Paul Simon Outstanding Teacher Award. Photo courtesy of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Marketing and Communications

Holt said she is excited and “highly honored” to be recognized for her integration of research into teaching. The Graduate School Research and Projects Advisory Board selects winners, who receive a $5,000 award.

“I’m honored, but … I think we all [in the anthropology department] really pride ourselves on putting our teaching first and including students in our research, so if I’m the first it’s not because I’m the only outstanding teacher,” Holt said.

Holt routinely brings students into the field to excavate archaeological sites. Students working on senior projects have the opportunity to go one step further and assist with identifying and analyzing artifacts, according to Holt. Some of those students have also co-authored papers with her.

Alumna Kathryn Chapman partnered with Holt as an Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA) student working with remains from the Lawrenz Gun Club excavation site in the Illinois River Valley. Chapman said Holt is a hands-on and encouraging professor who provides context “that will mimic what we do once we get out in the real world.”

“[Working in the field is] really helpful because you gain skills that you are going to repetitively use,” Chapman said.

While anthropology is a “very hands-on field,” according to Holt, she said she “could not possibly” conduct research without her students.

“It’s fun to be out in the field with them,” Holt said. “…It’s really win-win. I think the students have opportunities here at SIUE because of the small size of our program… Here our students have the opportunity to follow through from not just digging up but also doing the lab work.”

Holt, according to Chapman, relates well to students because of her “easy going personality” and shares her field experience in an interactive fashion.

“She is very in love with the subject matter, which is refreshing. It’s nice to know she stays up to date, she stays current and continues to work on various archaeology topics,” Chapman said.

Anthropology Department Chair Jen Rehg, who wrote a letter for Holt’s award application, said Holt has been “exemplary” in integrating research and teaching.

“There’s not even a place to look at her record and say she could have improved or done more,” Rehg said. “[She was] just kind of like a home run in terms of such a strong application.”

Holt has also been “a star of the department” in a field that has a “hallmark” for combining research and teaching, according to Rehg.

“We have excellent faculty now. We’ve had excellent faculty in the past, but I think if you probably looked at everyone again it’d be hard to find anyone in our department who in the past is more deserving,” Rehg said.

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed Under: Anthropology

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Switch to our mobile site