Michael B. Katz Award for Excellence in Teaching Urban Studies

Michael Katz, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History, stepped down as Co-Director of the Urban Studies Program in 1996, succeeded by Anne Spirn. To acknowledge his contribution as Director of the Urban Studies Program for over 13 years, the Urban Studies Program and the College of Arts and Sciences established a teaching award in his honor.

Each year's recipient of this award is presented with a certificate and a budget to be spent on books for the Urban Studies library which he or she deems to be classic or new and important books relevant to the field of urban studies. The books are inscribed with the recipient's name. The books augment the library in the Urban Studies office and collectively, over time, will come to represent the scope of the field as defined by our leading teachers. An announcement of the winner of this award is made at the Urban Studies graduation ceremony in May of each year.

Students wishing to nominate a faculty member should submit a letter of nomination to urbs@sas.upenn.edu. You may nominate an urban studies faculty member you have had for a course in any semester since you have been at Penn, as long as that person is teaching in the current academic year. (For a complete list of eligible faculty, refer to the current course roster.) Indicate which semester you took the faculty member's courses and include in the letter how the faulty member's teaching fulfills the criteria described below. Once we have recevied nominations, we will follow up to solicit further support for nominees. The decision will be based on the strength of the nominating and support materials. 

The quality of the program has always been of greatest importance to Michael Katz and a teaching award for Urban Studies should reflect the particular values with which he imbued the program. Below are some qualities to consider in your nomination, but you should feel free to discuss important qualities not included here. In your nomination, please describe how the nominee demonstrates these and other characteristics.

  1. High expectations for scholarship and respect for those who demonstrate commitment to grappling with important questions and dilemmas of urban life and society.
  2. The connection of theory and practice, a long-standing tenet of the program. the faculty member should demonstrate an equal enthusiasm for both forms of engagement with urban issues. The material covered in the class should stimulate students' thinking about the world around them and their experiences outside the classroom should be brought into the discussion.
  3. Enthusiasm for subject matter and engaging teaching that stimulates discussion and active involvement. Students participate in lively discussion and hear diverse points of view.

Teaching award recipients