June 7, 2010

SAIS honors Bologna’s Mahrukh Doctor for excellence in teaching

She made me think and question things.’ This is a simple yet stirring comment made by one student about Mahrukh Doctor, adjunct professor of Latin American studies at the SAIS Bologna Center, who was awarded the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award during the commencement ceremony in Bologna on May 28.

A dual German/Indian national, Doctor is a lecturer in political economy at the University of Hull and a research associate at the Centre for Brazilian Studies at Oxford University. A graduate of Oxford and of SAIS, she also has been an economic consultant at the World Bank.

This academic year Doctor taught A Survey of Latin American Politics and next year will add State and Society in Contemporary Brazil.

“I was delighted and honored that the students voted for me to receive this award—one that gives me the greatest satisfaction as an academic who really enjoys the teaching aspect of my work just as much as the research,” Doctor said. Attesting to students’ ongoing appreciation of her teaching, this was the second time Doctor received the award; the first was in 2007.

Another SAIS Bologna student this year described Doctor as “a caring professor who knows how to challenge students.” Yet another commented on her “wealth of knowledge, talent for teaching, dynamism in the classroom and ability to inspire the class.”

The evening’s commencement speaker echoed the importance of students “thinking and questioning things.”

The Bologna Center Class of 2010 was addressed by journalist Beppe Severgnini, whose remarks titled “How to Waste Your Life in Six Bold Moves” were both provocative and insightful.

Severgnini writes for Italy’s Corriere della Sera, is a former writer for The Economist and is the author of national and New York Times best sellers Ciao, America! and La Bella Figura. In 2004, Severgnini was voted European Journalist of the Year.

Following the crowning of graduating students with laurel wreaths—in the time-honored Italian tradition—Bologna Center Director Kenneth H. Keller delivered closing remarks, after which students, parents, guests, faculty and staff moved up to the center’s Penthouse and Robert J. Abernethy Terrace to continue the celebration.

Winners of the Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Awards in the university’s other academic divisions were announced prior to commencement ceremonies and were reported on earlier; to read about the recipients, go to https://gazette.jhu.edu/2010/05/24/best-in-class.