Dr. Michael Galaty, professor of anthropology, is the most recent winner of the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award from the Archaeological Institute of America. The award is one of the highest honors bestowed on undergraduate professors of archaeology and is given to only one distinguished honoree each year. He will accept the award at the Institute's national meeting in January.
Galaty's award "is a wonderful recognition of the high quality of undergraduate teaching in our department," says Dr. Julian Murchison, associate professor of sociology and anthropology. Galaty agrees that the award "demonstrates that we have a world-class anthropology program." His award is a major achievement both for the department of sociology and anthropology and for the College.
Galaty was nominated by Professor of Anthropology George Bey and former Dean of the College Richard Smith. He has an impressive track record at Millsaps and was awarded both the Outstanding Young Faculty Award and the Distinguished Professor Award by the College.
In order to qualify for the award, Galaty demonstrated excellence in teaching archaeology and developed innovative teaching methods. Other requisites include having taught for at least five years and maintaining membership in the Institute.
The Archaeological Institute of America was founded in 1879 and is the oldest and largest organization devoted to archaeology. Boasting over 250,000 members and subscribers, its diverse constituency includes professional archaeologists, students and those who are simply interested in furthering human knowledge.
Its mission spells out its commitment to furthering public understanding of the importance of archaeological findings, preserving archaeological resources and protecting cultural heritage. The strong belief that understanding the past strengthens the human experience and enriches lives is a thread that runs through all of the Institute's undertakings.
In addition to prestigious awards, the Institute publishes a bimonthly magazine, books and a leading journal in the field of archaeology. It also sponsors lectures, fellowships, tours and an annual meeting that gives center stages to new discoveries and scholarship.
Galaty's award is the second national award received by a faculty member in the department of sociology and anthropology in the past four years. Associate Dean of International Education and Chisholm Foundation Chair in Arts and Sciences Dr. George Bey received the AAA/McGraw-Hill Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the American Anthropological Association in 2006.
"Two national awards in the past four years show how unique our department is," says Murchison. "They demonstrate the wonderful teaching and learning opportunities available."
Students in the department also realize the size of this achievement.
"After being here for four years I kind of take things for granted," admits senior Nadia Hashimi, "but the award helped me realize just how lucky I am to be here."