Professor Robert Lake receives teaching excellence awards from NAGS, GSNB

Bloustein School professor and director of the doctoral program Robert Lake was selected as the recipient of  2015 Teaching Excellence Awards from the Northeast Association of Graduate Schools (NAGS) and Rutgers Graduate School-New Brunswick (GSNB).

The Northeast Association of Graduate Schools Teaching Awards are designed to recognize excellence and creativity in teaching of graduate students at the master’s and doctoral program levels. Innovation in graduate curriculum development and implementation are also considered. The nominee must have been a faculty member of the nominating institution for at least three years at the time of the nomination.

Dr. Lake was nominated by Dr. Harvey Waterman, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for GSNB. His nomination included the following:

“Now in his fortieth year on the Rutgers faculty, PRofessor Lake has devoted his entire career to the enrichment of graduate education and the mentoring and education of doctoral students across a range of disciplines. He currently serves as Director of our Doctoral Program in Planning and Public Policy. His manifold contributions have been felt at individual, intellectual, and institutional levels. he has touched the lives of innumerable students through generous, sensitive, and supportive teaching within and outside the classroom….He is repeatedly sought out as a dissertation supervisor by doctoral students who, despite the diversity of their research across a very broad range of substantive topics and methodological approaches, value the support he provides that allows them to flourish as independent researchers and scholars. His strength as a teacher of doctoral students is his ability and willingness to offer direction and guidance while allowing students to develop as seasoned scholars with their own identities and perspectives…. His pedagogical innovations [within the Bloustein School’s doctoral program] have been far-reaching, including streamlining the core course requirements for the PhD and a complete rethinking and redesign of the theory course sequence required for the degree….he organized program faculty members to standardize and rational ize the core course requirements; regularized the process for comprehensive examinations, making the process transparent and accessible for students as well as faculty examiners; substantially imporoved the programs’s procedures for student advising and monitoring student progress; and considerably expanded faculty involvement in the PhD program, notably including a significant increase in the number and variety of PhD-level courses offered by members of the faculty.”

The Graduate School-New Brunswick conducts an annual competition for the Excellence in Teaching, Graduate Research, Administrative Service, and Dissertation Teaching awards. Two awards are presented each year for graduate teaching by faculty members and two awards each year for undergraduate teaching by graduate students. Candidates are nominated by the director of each program, and the nominees are then judged on all aspects of  teaching and mentoring. Among the elements to be considered are: intensity of the challenge effectively posed to students; richness and conceptual complexity of the material effectively conveyed; integration of research and teaching; generosity of effort; performance of the role of exemplar for future teachers; inspiration of future work and career choices; quality and extent of preparation and responsibility in all aspects of the teacher-student relationship; extension of effects beyond the formal classroom (e.g., extra teaching efforts, advising); quality and quantity of significant student products (e.g., research papers, publications) stemming from classroom and mentored research; individuation of teaching; development of teaching materials (e.g., textbooks); curricular innovation.

His nomination for the GSNB teaching award was submitted as follows:

“Bob Lake has, for forty years, been the heart and soul of the Ph.D. program in Planning and Public Policy, teaching many of its courses, advising over 100 doctoral students, revising its curriculum,and for many years acting as director of the program.  He is its most popular faculty member, sought out for his mentoring skills and his ability to enable students to find their own paths in research.  His courses are sought out by students from other fields as well for their formative introduction to research and theory.  His leadership has been a major contribution to the program’s status as one of the leading doctoral programs in urban planning in the United States.”

Congratulations to Professor Lake!