Prof. Michael Levine wins an SAS Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education. With his exemplary interdisciplinary teaching in the German, Comparative Literature, and Jewish Studies programs, his visionary leadership as Undergraduate Director of German, and his enthusiastic service on core department and university committees, Professor Michael Levine has made extraordinary contributions to undergraduate education since joining the Rutgers faculty in 2007. Professor Levine offers an impressive range of interdisciplinary courses that appeal to large numbers of students. Comments on course evaluations repeatedly underscore his effectiveness as a creative, inspirational teacher. Remarking on the diverse, challenging, and illuminating subject matter, one student notes that Michael was “kind and nurturing. It is evident that he is a tremendous intellect who manages to be neither intimidating nor condescending.” Another highlights numerous “epiphany moments” throughout the semester. His exceptional success as a classroom instructor is amply documented by his course evaluations. Statistical indicators repeatedly rank him in the top tier, and student comments are overwhelmingly enthusiastic. These high ratings are even more remarkable in light of the fact that his courses routinely have rigorous syllabi that are theoretically sophisticated, require significant amounts of reading and writing, and challenge students to think in new and unexpected ways.
Michael’s courses have a compelling, profound, enduring impact on his students. One grateful student reports that she refers to the notebook from his Introduction to Literary Theory course as “The Bible,” because “it holds so much information that is somehow relational to my other subjects.” At the departmental level, he has spearheaded curricular innovation at all levels. As Undergraduate Director of German he oversees a flourishing program that has been gaining national and international recognition: under his guidance, three undergraduate German majors have been awarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships in Germany next year. At the university level, he has served on key committees charged with improving undergraduate education at Rutgers. Michael also has been instrumental in expanding outreach efforts to area universities and to New Jersey junior high and high schools. With his passionate commitment to his students, to curricular innovation, and to the educational mission of a research university, Michael truly is a “Distinguished Contributor to Undergraduate Education” at Rutgers.