Faculty Members Bender, Grabowski Win 2009 Bellet Award

Issue Date: 
March 2, 2009

The University of Pittsburgh School of Arts and Sciences has named Gretchen Bender, lecturer in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture, and Joseph J. Grabowski, a professor in the Department of Chemistry, winners of the 2009 Tina and David Bellet Teaching Excellence Award. The Bellet Award recipients will be honored at a by-invitation-only dinner  at 7 p.m. April 1 in the William Pitt Union Ballroom.

The Bellet Awards were established in 1998 and endowed in 2008 with a $1.5 million gift from Arts and Sciences alumnus David Bellet (CAS ’67) and his wife, Tina, to recognize outstanding and innovative undergraduate teaching in the School of Arts and Sciences. A committee appointed by the Arts and Sciences associate dean for undergraduate studies evaluates teaching skills as evidenced by student-teaching and peer evaluations, student testimonials, and dossiers submitted by the nominees. Full-time faculty who have taught in Arts and Sciences during the past three years are eligible. Each award recipient receives a cash prize.

Bender has been director of undergraduate advising in the history of art and architecture department since 2002. She serves on the Pitt Arts and Sciences Writing Board and, in 2008, was a member of the Philip Johnson Exhibition Catalogue Award Committee for the Society of Architectural Historians. In 1992, Bender had an internship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and was a research assistant at Bryn Mawr College from 1996 to 1999.

Her publications include “Gaertner’s Compromise: Spectatorship and Social Order in the 1834 Panorama of Berlin,” in New Perspectives on the Panorama, a forthcoming anthology edited by Tim Barringer. Bender is working on a book titled Tracing Caroline: Gender and the Landscape Practice of C.D. Friedrich.

Bender has received several honors, including the Doris Sill Carland Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Bryn Mawr College in 1996, and at Franklin and Marshall College, she won the Robert M. and Elizabeth Hatton Landis Art Award in 1991 and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. She also had a Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities at Bryn Mawr College from 1999 to 2000 and a Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst research grant in Bonn, Germany, in 1998.

Bender is a member of the College Art Association, Historians of German and Central European Art, German Academic Exchange Service Alumni Association, and American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

She earned a BA degree in art history, cum laude, at Franklin and Marshall College in 1991, an MA degree at the American University in 1994, and a PhD degree in German art of the Romantic era at Bryn Mawr College in 2001.

Grabowski, director of undergraduate research in Arts and Sciences, began teaching at Pitt in 1991. His research spans fundamental issues in physical-organic chemistry and analytical mass spectrometry. Prior to joining the University, Grabowski was a professor of chemistry at Harvard University.

He has written or cowritten numerous articles, including “Simple HTML Templates for Creating Science Oriented Jeopardy! Games for Active Learning,” with M.L. Price in the Journal of Chemical Education (2003); “The Office of Experiential Learning: Supporting Faculty, Engaging Students,” with Margaret E. Heely in CUR Quarterly (2006); and “A Model for Scaffolding Faculty-Mentored Authentic Research Experiences for First-Year Students,” with Heely and Jacob A. Brindley in CUR Quarterly (2008). A chapter, “Active Learning Using the Virtual Mass Spectrometry Laboratory,” with Mark E. Bier, appeared in ACS Symposium Series 970: Active Learning Models From the Analytical Sciences (American Chemical Society/Oxford University Press, 2007).

Among Grabowski’s honors are a Carnegie Science Center Award for Excellence and the Pitt Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, both in 2003. He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1991 and was a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator from 1986 to 1991.

Grabowski is a member of various organizations, including the American Chemical Society, American Society for Mass Spectrometry, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Society of Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh, and American Association of Colleges and Universities.

He earned a BA degree in chemistry, magna cum laude, at the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 1978 and a PhD degree in organic chemistry at the University of Colorado in 1983.