New School News

2013 Distinguished University Teaching Awards

The award recipients clockwise from top left are: Dominic Pettman, Alexandra Delano, Katherine Kurs, and Laura Maria Censabella.

For the first time ever, the Distinguished University Teaching Awards will be presented at this year’s commencement ceremony. Inaugurated in 1988, the award is given by The New School to recognize excellence in teaching. The four faculty members being honored this year are:

  • Laura Maria Censabella, Professor of Playwriting, The New School for Drama
  • Alexandra Delano, Assistant Professor of Global Studies, The New School for Public Engagement
  • Katherine Kurs, Assistant Professor of Religion, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts
  • Dominic Pettman, Chair and Professor of Culture and Media, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts

The award recognizes a group of faculty members who have been nominated by their students and colleagues, and then selected by a faculty committee as Distinguished University Teachers. These faculty members exhibit the highest standards for teaching, demonstrating not only passion, superior knowledge of their field, and a willingness to reach beyond divisional boundaries, but also possess the remarkable ability to inspire critical engagement with ideas and study.

A graduate of Yale University, Laura Maria Censabella is an accomplished playwright and screenwriter, having been awarded three grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts; two in playwriting for Abandoned in Queens and Three Italian Women, and The Geri Ashur Award in Screenwriting for her original screenplay Truly Mary. Her plays have been produced or work shopped by The Philadelphia Festival Theatre for New Plays, The Women’s Project & Productions, The Working Theatre, Interact Theatre in L.A., the American Living Room Series at The Ohio, the AthenaWorks Marathon, the Belmont Italian American Playhouse, the Pacific Resident Theatre, The Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College, Wide Eyed Productions, and Ensemble Studio Theatre.

In her teaching and research, Alexandra Delano specializes in migration from a political perspective, specifically the role of the sending state in managing migration, the limits of cooperation at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels, immigrant integration, and the transnational relationships between states and migrants. Delano’s approach is interdisciplinary, drawing from sociology, political science and international relations. She currently coordinates events for the ICMEC (International Center for Migration Ethnicity and Citizenship) and is the advisor for the student Global Migration Group.

A professor, counselor in private practice, writer, and liturgist, Katherine Kurs focuses on the formulation, articulation, interpretation, and symbolic expression of sacred meaning. Her research interests include spiritual autobiography/memoir, contemporary manifestations of American spirituality/religiosity, lived religion and ritual enactments in a pluralistic urban context. Kurs is on the steering committee for the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard University, as well as the Dean’s Leadership Council at the Harvard Divinity School.

Dominic Pettman’s teaching and research explore the manifold ways in which media theory influences cultural practice, and vice versa. While studying literature, critical theory, and philosophy at the University of Melbourne, Pettman became interested in unorthodox representations and readings of technology, particularly the strategies used by writers, intellectuals, and multimedia-makers to either integrate or reject new platforms and media.

Read more about the history of the awards here.

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