3 Professors Honored with 2021 Binswanger Prizes for Excellence in Teaching

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At left, Provost Nicole Stanton and Wesleyan President Michael Roth congratulate Sonali Chakravarti, associate professor of government, on being a recipient of a Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching. (Photo by Olivia Drake MALS ’08)

Every spring, Wesleyan recognizes outstanding teaching with three Binswanger Prizes for Excellence in Teaching. These prizes, made possible by gifts from the family of the late Frank G. Binswanger Sr., Hon. ’85, underscore Wesleyan’s commitment to its scholar-teachers, who are responsible for the University’s distinctive approach to liberal arts education.

Recommendations are solicited from alumni of the last 10 graduating classes, as well as current juniors, seniors, and graduate students. Recipients are chosen by a selection committee of faculty and members of the Alumni Association Executive Committee.

This year, Wesleyan honors the following faculty members for their excellence in teaching:

Sonali Chakravarti

Sonali Chakravarti

Sonali Chakravarti
Sonali Chakravarti, associate professor of government, came to Wesleyan in 2009. Her work focuses on questions of emotions, the law, and democratic institutions. Chakravarti is the author of two books—Radical Enfranchisement in the Jury Room and Public Life (University of Chicago Press, 2019) and Sing the Rage: Listening to Anger After Mass Violence (University of Chicago Press, 2014)—as well as numerous peer-reviewed articles and chapters in publications including Political Theory and the Journal of Law, Culture, and the Humanities. At Wesleyan, she teaches courses including What Is the Good Life?, The Moral Basis of Politics, Transitional Justice, and Acting and Citizenship, among others. She served on the Educational Policy Committee in 2019–20, and on the faculty board of the Fries Center for Global Studies in 2018–19. In 2014, she was awarded Wesleyan’s Baker Memorial Prize. Chakravarti has been the Ann Plato Post-Doctoral Fellow at Trinity College and Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Faculty Fellow at the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. She earned a BA in political science from Swarthmore College, and an MA, an MPhil, and a PhD in political science from Yale University.

Douglas Arthur Martin

Douglas Arthur Martin

Douglas Arthur Martin
Douglas Arthur Martin, assistant professor of the practice in creative writing, joined Wesleyan’s faculty in 2008. They are an author of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and prose, whose books have been translated into Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. The most recent book, Wolf, is “an anti–true crime novel about abuse, patricide, and Southern working-class life.” Their first novel, Outline of My Lover, was an International Book of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement, and was adapted in part for the multimedia ballet and live film Kammer/Kammer. It has now been reissued in a 20th-anniversary edition. Their work also has been recognized with a Lambda Award nomination in the Gay Memoir/Biography category (Once You Go Back) and as a finalist for the Ferro-Grumley Award (Branwell). At Wesleyan, they teach creative writing courses in all genres and currently serve as assistant director of creative writing. Born in Virginia and raised in Georgia, they now divide time between Brooklyn, upstate New York, and Connecticut. They have a BA from the University of Georgia Athens, an MFA from The New School, and a PhD from The Graduate Center of The City University of New York.

Anna Shusterman

Anna Shusterman

Anna Shusterman
Anna Shusterman, associate professor of psychology, joined Wesleyan’s Psychology Department in 2007. She is co-chair of the College of Education Studies, established in 2020. Shusterman directs research in the Wesleyan Cognitive Development Laboratories exploring how young children’s experiences change their thinking and behavior. Her research has been published in numerous scholarly journals, including Developmental Science, Cognition, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. At Wesleyan, she teaches courses in developmental psychology, education, early childhood, and cognitive science. Her efforts to connect University-based research to real-world settings include Kindergarten Kickstart, a summer bridge-to-kindergarten program in Middletown; two service-learning courses connecting students to local preschools; and a large project to develop and test research-based math games for early childhood settings. She has held many University service positions, including serving as chair of the Education Policy Committee and as a McNair Research advisor. Shusterman earned an ScB in neuroscience from Brown University and a PhD in psychology from Harvard University. Prior to teaching at Wesleyan, she was a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard and a science teacher at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn. She has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and was a finalist for the Campus Compact Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award.