Marquette University: English, Africana studies professor honored with Teaching Excellence Award

MILWAUKEE — Dr. Jodi Melamed, associate professor of English and Africana studies in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences at Marquette University, is the recipient of the 2020 Robert and Mary Gettel Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence.

Teaching Excellence Awards are the highest honor bestowed upon Marquette faculty members. Recipients are nominated by colleagues and students for demonstrating excellence as teacher-scholars.

Melamed is known for her genuine and unwavering care for students, as well as advocating for racial and economic justice. On campus, Melamed works with students, faculty and staff to enact a more robust anti-racism outlook at Marquette and in Milwaukee.

Her colleagues in the English Department describe Melamed as having a unique ability to speak openly and honestly about tough topics such as racial and social injustice, which allows her students to learn in a real, informed and respectful environment.

“The university is a unique place where people come together to teach and to learn. It is an illuminating institution where you can analyze with others across lines of social division,” Melamed said. “In thinking together, we have the opportunity maybe to experience a kind of fragile, but exciting collectivity. In itself, the tenuous collectivity in the classroom changes little, but it can build thicker relations of respect and communication across the walls of a society that institutionalizes uneven life chances.”

A person who nominated Melamed for the award wrote, “Dr. Melamed is a central person in the formation of our students on campus. Her work redefines what it means to teach. For her, to teach is to challenge, to transform and perhaps more importantly, to care deeply and authentically.”

Other nominators describe Melamed as the embodiment of Marquette’s Jesuit mission and a commanding representation of cura personalis – the Ignatian principle for caring for the whole person.

Melamed’s coworkers in the English department describe Melamed’s teaching model as instilling emotional, interpersonal and intellectual strength in students, inspiring colleagues all across the university to teach, lead and offer support beyond the classroom to make the world a better place.