Abbie Modaff and Professor Elizabeth Hinton Awarded Phi Beta Kappa Prizes for Excellence in Teaching

May 29, 2019

Abbie Modaff and Professor Elizabeth Hinton were two of the three honorees selected for the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prizes.

From Harvard Magazine:
Each year, the PBK students nominate, and their undergraduate marshals select, particularly distinguished teachers. Given that the nominators are among the academically most distinguished products of the College themselves, the award is particularly cherished by the faculty recipients (icing on the cake: they also receive a modest honorarium). The prizes were conferred by Alison Simmons, Wolcott professor of philosophy, who this year had the pleasure of recognizing:

  • Kathleen Coleman, Loeb professor of the classics and chair of the department of the classics (read about some of her research here), who “draws students in with her warmth for people and excitement about ideas,” Simmons said. “She wants to know who her students are, and what they think.” 
  • Elizabeth Hinton, Loeb associate professor of the social sciences (profiled briefly here), an historian and member of the department of African and African American studies, who is a specialist in the historical intersection of race, the criminal-justice system, and mass incarceration in the United States, who “empowers students to think seriously, aspirationally, and also realistically about social change and racial equality. Professor Hinton challenges her students: ‘Now that you are armed with this knowledge,’ she asks, ‘what are you going to do with it?’”; and
  • Abigail Modaff, a graduate student who is a teaching fellow in history, from whom, a PBK student reports, he received his first-ever C+. “All my life,” the student reported, “I had seen grades as hoops through which I had to jump to achieve the next step in my academic career. On a chilly February afternoon, Abby taught me to understand grading as a teaching method, an opportunity for learning and improvement, rather than an empty reward.”