NYU Steinhardt News

Nominated by their Students, Three MCC Faculty Win Teaching Awards

Associate Professors Mara Mills and Paula Chakravartty, and Clinical Assistant Professor Jamie Bianco, have received 2017 New York University teaching awards.

Mills is the recipient of NYU Steinhardt’s Teaching Excellence Award, which recognizes consummate teaching at the university. A scholar of media technologies and disability, she is working on two book projects: one entitled On the Phone: Deafness and Communication Engineering and a second exploring print disability and the emergence of new reading technologies (like Talking Books). NYU students have assisted Mills with these projects, collaborating on research and the digitization of media they’ve unearthed in diverse archives.

Mills is on the Steering Committee of the newly launched Disability Studies minor at NYU, and also serves as Co-Chair of the NYU Disability Council.

"I took a large 400-student lecture class with Professor Mills and she made me feel like the only student in the lecture,” says undergraduate honors student Seth Loftis. He went on to work with Mills for his honors thesis. Seth describes her as an invaluable mentor, her teaching as “hands-on and invigorating,” and credits Mills for teaching him how to conduct archival research. “I am honored and incredibly lucky to have taken a class with Professor Mills and I feel privileged to have had her as my thesis adviser."

Students of Paula Chakravartty voice similar admiration of her acumen as a teacher. “Professor Chakravartty is someone who challenges me to become a more critical scholar,” says current doctoral student Rachel Kuo. Rachel and her peers nominated Chakravartty for a Nia Award, which recognizes the achievements of NYU community members for enhancing diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice in their work at NYU.

Chakravartty's research spans global media, critical race theory, and politics. Her courses take a transnational approach to topics in labor, race, inequality, and class. Students commend Chakravartty for centering her scholarship outside of the U.S. and for engaging feminist scholarship and scholars of color in her own work and in her syllabi.

At the awards ceremony honoring Chakravartty, her students thanked her for teaching them to “think globally and, fundamentally, more humanely.”

Jamie Bianco received an award from the Steinhardt Undergraduate Student Government recognizing her “outstanding commitment” and contributions at the school. A digital media theorist and artist, Bianco joined MCC in 2013, and has since launched the MCC Media Lab, a digital media incubator, and several associated seminars blending media theory and practice: Creative Coding, Critical Making, Workshop in Digital and Computational Media, among others.

With the Media Lab team, Bianco has organized an annual digital media showcase in the department, where students present projects exploring the intersection of technology and social commentary.

In nominating Bianco, one anonymous student wrote:

“With Professor Bianco’s encouragement and guidance, we’ve not only begun to learn more about our individual topics, but we’ve learned how to use our skills as media creators to have a real life effect on them. Out of all the professors I’ve ever had within my years at Steinhardt, she has given me something that I know will stay with me for a long time.”

The department congratulates all three faculty members on these recognitions.