Kay Widdows Receives Top Teaching Awardby Jim Amidon • April 26, 2013
- Philosophy professor Glen Helman presented Alex Gillham with the J. Harry Cotton Philosophy Prize.
- Professor of Religion David Blix awarded the John N. Mills Prize in Religion to Matthew Michaloski and the John N. Mills Fellowship in Religion to John Plaiss.
- The Baldwin Prize in Oratory was awarded by Professor of Rhetoric Jenn Abbott to 1st place, Zachary Thompson, 2nd place, Justin Taylor, and 3rd place Scott Purucker (not pictured).
- Rhetoric professor Jenn Abbott and Emeritus Professor Joe O'Rourke presented Jordan Surenkamp with the Joseph O'Rourke, Jr. Award in Speech.
- Joseph Mount was awarded both the Erminie Leonardis Theater History Award and the Ryan Champion Theater Performance Award by Michael Abbott, Theater Professor.
- The Kloth Design and Technical Theater Award winner Joshua Lutton with Theater professor Michael Abbott.
- Professor of Music Richard Bowen awarded Yunan Wu with the Louis Catuogno, Jr. Piano Prize.
- Zachary Thompson and Charles Hintz, Glee Club Senior Award recipients with Glee Club Director and Music professor, Richard Bowen.
- Student earning Distinction in Division 3 along with Division Chair Stephen Morillo.
- The George D. Lovell Award was presented to Jose Herrera by Professor of History Stephen Morillo.
- Psychology Professor Bobby Horton named Nathaniel Borden and Liam Smith as the Distinguished Seniors in Psychology.
- Kay Widdows, Professor of Economics presented the Warren Wright Shearer Prize in Economics Scott Campbell and Jared Valentine. Peter Bell accepted the award for Jared Valentine who is currently studying abroad.
- The Steven Schmutte Prize for Outstanding Paper in Economics was awarded to Anh Sy Huy Le by Professor Kay Widdows.
- Jake Schild and Ryan Cronin received the Benjamin Rogge Memorial Award from Professor of Economics Kay Widdows.
- Christopher Widup was presented with the Theodore Gronert HIstory Award by history professor Rick Warner.
- The John F. Charles World History Prize was given to Jose Herrera and Matthew Paul by Professor Rick Warner.
- Dan Rogers, Chair of the Political Science Department presented Jeremy Wentzel with the F. Michael Cassel Political Science Award.
- The George A. Lipsky Award in Political Science was given to Ricardo Aguirre by Professor Dan Rogers.
- Jacob Ahler was awarded a Wabash captain's chair as the recipient of the N. Ryan Shaw II Award.
- Professor Scott Himsel recognized Riley Floyd as the David W. Peck Medal winner.
- The James E. Bingham Award was given to Jeremy McDonald and Trevor Poe by Professor Scott Himsel.
- Michael Carper was awarded the William Nelson White Scholarship by Professor Scott Himsel.
- Teacher Education Professor Michele Pittard presented the Caleb Mills Excellence in Student Teaching Award to Zachary Rohrbach who graduated in 2012 and completed his student teaching in the fall.
- Senior Director of Communications Jim Amidon and Director of New Media Howard Hewitt presented Robert S. Harvey Journalism Awards to Adam Alexander, Ian Baumgardner, Jacob Burnett, Robert Dixon, John Dykstra, Riley Floyd, Tyler Griffin, Ryan Lutz, Scott Morrison, Alexander Totten, Tianren Wang, Gabriel Watson, and Lucas Zromkoski.
Kealoha “Kay” Widdows, a 26-year teaching veteran at Wabash College, received the McLain-McTurnan-Arnold Excellence in Teaching Award at the College’s annual honors convocation, Awards Chapel.
Widdows holds the John H. Schroeder Interdisciplinary Chair in Economics at the liberal arts college in Crawfordsville.
“Her given name, Kealoha, translates, ‘A great friend who will always be by your side,’” said Dean of the College Gary A. Phillips in presenting the prestigious award. “Kay is a great friend who is always by the side of students and faculty, a sister liberal arts traveler whose imagination opens doors here and worlds away, a teacher who exemplifies for students, faculty, staff, presidents, and trustees the best liberal arts teaching this small College has to offer.”
The Excellence in Teaching Award honors the memories of Reid H. McLain ’27, Clair McTurnan ’10, and Kent Arnold ’29, and is given to a member of the faculty who has distinguished him or herself by innovative and engaging teaching.
“This, to me, is Wabash's highest honor, and I feel especially privileged to be recognized by my colleagues, all of whom are great teachers, advisors, and hardworking community members,” Widdows said. “All of us at Wabash who ‘profess’ owe a huge part of any success to the quality of our students — the raw material that walks in the door, accords us respect and attention, makes decisions, works hard, and walks out four years later as men who will make a difference in the world. It's the learners who do the work; the teachers are merely facilitators, advisors, and cheerleaders.”
Widdows joined the Wabash faculty in 1987 after completing her bachelor’s degree at Reed College, her master’s degree at the University of Chicago, and her Ph.D. at Purdue University. Prior to her arrival at Wabash, she was an economist for the Budget and Planning Office for the Missouri State Government.
In addition to teaching more than three-dozen distinct courses in her tenure, Dr. Widdows has an impressive administrative record, as well. She has served as Chair of the Economics Department, Chair of the Division of Social Sciences, and Acting Dean of the College. She has chaired the Faculty Development Committee, Off-Campus Studies Committee, and the Freshman Tutorial Committee, and has served on two Presidential Search Committees.
In addition to her excellent teaching at Wabash, she has taught students around the world. Dr. Widdows has served as a visiting professor at a university in Malaysia, was the resident director of the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s Japanese Study Program at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, was a visiting scholar at the National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan, and was a visiting instructor for the University of Virginia’s Semester at Sea program.
She helped establish Wabash’s Asian Studies Program through a Mellon Foundation grant, and has been a major contributor to Wabash’s partnership with the Indiana University Kelley School of Business for its dual degree program in accounting.
“No faculty person is a better ambassador for Wabash or what we aspire to do with students here,” said Dean Phillips. “No faculty person better exemplifies the type of peripatetic teaching that changes the lives of students and faculty.”
At Wabash, Dr. Widdows regularly teaches Introduction to Economics, Intermediate Microeconomics, Industrial Organization, and International Economics. She is also interested in the economics of the arts and recently received a GLCA New Directions Grant for her study of cost trends in artisan violin making.
Her belief that her students need to see the world in order to be effective leaders in it is seen in the many Immersion Learning Courses she has taught. She has led students to three continents, including to Ecuador to study the political economy of oil production and to Europe to learn about policy-making in the European Union.
“I continue to believe that travel is a great teacher, and that if managed correctly, it can open doors to the imagination in ways that are simply not possible here,” Widdows said. “The opportunity for economists and students of economics to go around the world … can be a life-changing experience.”
Outside of her academic interest, Dr. Widdows is an accomplished pianist and enjoys playing chamber music with students.