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Beatrice McKenzie, Ellen Joyce awarded for excellent teaching, innovative technology

Monday, April 28, 2014

MEDIA CONTACT: Hilary Dickinson at or 608-363-2849

Associate Professors of History Beatrice McKenzie and Ellen Joyce were singled out at Friday’s (April 25) annual faculty and staff recognition event at Beloit College. McKenzie was awarded the James R. Underkofler Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, and Joyce received the Phee Boon Kang’73 Prize for Innovation in Teaching with Technology.

Sponsored by the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and Alliant Energy, the Underkofler Award is based on student nominations and the recommendation of the Faculty Status and Performance Committee.

In nominating McKenzie, students praised her ability to draw connections between domestic and international issues, between history and other disciplines, and between classroom and community. They also noted her thoughtful advising, which reflects her “keen understanding of students’ interests.” They went on to describe her as “caring,” “compassionate” and “wise,” with one student writing, “When I was having some problems…she reassured me that I was meant to be in college and that I am capable of great things.”

McKenzie, who joined Beloit College in 2006, specializes in U.S. immigration and citizenship issues, historical or present. Prior to entering academia, she served as a foreign service officer in Hong Kong and Uganda, and that work inflects her teaching and research interests. Read more about McKenzie here.

The other award given out at the ceremony, the Kang Prize, was established by alumnus and Trustee Phee Boon Kang'73 and recognizes innovative teaching and creative leveraging of technology to improve learning.

Joyce was awarded the prize for her proposed project, “Crowdsourcing for Cultural Heritage Projects,” which is focused on bringing new technological tools and techniques to bear on archival work through the idea of “crowdsourcing” the digital transcription of documents and collections of documents. After undergoing a series of training and bringing experts to Beloit to develop the capacity for this work on campus, Joyce will apply that training to her history courses in the 2014-15 academic year, and will also develop a template for transcription projects for future users of the College Archives.

Joyce has taught at Beloit since 2001. Her expertise is in church history, medieval history and contemporary Catholicism. Learn more about Joyce here.

The presentation of the awards was immediately followed by a recognition party that highlighted other major faculty and staff accomplishments such as publications, presentations, exhibitions, performances, awards and honors. Among the accomplishments were three edited volumes on animal behavior, a first prize at an international dance festival and more than $1 million dollars in grant funding to support faculty research and the liberal arts in practice.