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Six Exceptional Pomona College Faculty Members Voted Wig Professors by Students

 Students at Pomona College, one of the nation's premier liberal arts colleges, have elected professors Edward (EJ) Crane III, Paul E. Hurley, Zayn R. Kassam, Michael K. Kuehlwein, Patrick H. Mulcahy and Paul K. Saint-Amour to receive the 2005 Wig Distinguished Professor Awards for Excellence in Teaching. The Award recognizes exceptional teaching, concern for students and service to the College and community.

The recipients of the Wig Awards are elected by the junior and senior classes and then confirmed by a committee of trustees, faculty and students. The awards were announced at Pomona's 112th Commencement held on May 15, 2005. They were established by Mr. and Mrs. R.J. Wig in 1955.

EJ Crane, an assistant professor of chemistry, joined the Pomona College faculty in 2002 and teaches biochemistry and advanced biochemistry.

Student comments included: “Professor Crane has a talent for capturing and presenting the most interesting aspects of the subject matter he teaches. He has a fun and relaxed teaching style while at the same time encouraging a high level of performance from his students.” “Professor Crane made my biochem class one of the most engaging and memorable of all the science classes I've taken at Pomona. His ability for personable teaching is a huge asset to the college.” “Dr. Crane is just a cool guy. I am taking Advanced Biochemistry with him for 'fun' since I enjoyed his intro biochemistry class so much.”

Crane focuses his research on the biochemistry of organisms that live in hydrothermal vent environments, both at the ocean floor and deep underground. He is particularly interested in how these organisms survive in environments that are both incredibly hot and highly toxic. He has written often on the topic. His articles have appeared in the European Journal of Biochemistry and the Journal of Biochemistry. He holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University and a B.S. from St. Cloud State University. He previously taught at Salisbury University in Maryland, where he received a 1999 Distinguished Faculty Award.

Paul Hurley, professor of philosophy, teaches Ethics; Meta-ethics; Political Philosophy; Philosophy of Law; and Freedom, Markets, and Well-Being. This is his third Wig Award.

Students find him “an absolutely fantastic lecturer, who really brings the material to life.” “He is academically uncompromising, demanding that his students work hard to understand the material, and his lectures are always clear, informative, and engaging…. Prof. Hurley hides his biases more effectively than any human being I've ever met. He can argue six sides to most issues and yet still have his opinions remain completely mysterious. Prof. Hurley has a truly rare gift.” “Few people are as intelligent, able to convey info, and facilitate meaningful discussions as Paul Hurley.”

A member of the faculty since 1988, Hurley researches issues of consequentialism, moral ethics, and issues of trust, happiness, forgiveness, democracy and lying. His articles have appeared most recently in the journals Analysis, Ethics, The Journal of Ethics, Mind, and The Pacific Philosophical Quarterly. He earned his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.

Zayn R. Kassam, associate professor of religious studies and chair of the Religious Studies Department, joined the faculty in 1995. She teaches The Religion of Islam, Islamic Thought, Engendering and Experience: Women in the Islamic Tradition, The Divine Body and Interpreting Religious Worlds. This is her second Wig Award.

Students say: “Prof. Kassam is an amazing teacher with an ability to synthesize a broad spectrum of material into a coherent and fascinating take on a subject… Class discussions [spill] out of the classroom, into the dining and residence halls, and even onto forums in cyberspace.” “Students can sense the effort, planning and hard work that go into creating magical classroom discussions.” “Her personal and honest interest in her students shines through in everything she does, from office hours to the copious, careful notes on our graded papers and discussions.”

In her research, Kassam focuses on Islamic ethics, gender issues, philosophy and mysticism. Her chapters have appeared in Ethics and the World Religions (2001), Love, Sex and Gender in World Religions (2001), and A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion and Ethics (2001). She received her B.A, M.A. and Ph.D. from McGill University.

Michael K. Kuehlwein, the George E. and Nancy O. Moss Professor of Economics, joined the faculty in 1987. Now a three-time Wig Award recipient, he teaches Principles of Macroeconomics, Macroeconomic Theory, and a senior seminar.

Students say: “No one makes material come alive like Professor Kuehlwein.” “The Econ 51 class I took with Professor Kuehlwein was the most entertaining and interactive ‘lecture’ class I have ever attended.” “I have never seen a man so excited to run up to a blackboard to draw a supply and demand diagram. His excitement about economics is contagious.” “Professor Kuehlwein stands out for me because of his genuine dedication to helping his students learn.”

Kuehlwein’s research interests range from consumer spending and saving to the effects of budget deficits on interest rates in Thailand and the effect of railroads on wheat prices in 19th century India. His articles have been published in Economic Letters; Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking; and Review of Economics and Statistics, among other journals. He holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

Patrick H. Mulcahy, a professor of physical education, is also the Pomona-Pitzer men’s track and cross-country coach. Since his arrival in 1969, he has coached 38 athletes to 67 NCAA All-American performances. Nine of those athletes have been national champions. He teaches activity classes in badminton, weight training, and golf, plus a biannual Sociology class entitled 'Mind, Culture, and Sport'.

Students find that: “Pat's influence extends beyond the athletic field, and into so many other important aspects of his athletes' lives.” “He has been a mentor, a coach, a teacher, and a friend. I enjoy with him the type of faculty-student relationship that I wish everyone could enjoy with at least one teacher here.” “Energy and humor like his keep the Athletic Department and the college as a whole vibrant and exciting!” “He made my Pomona experience the best it could be.” “Pat is always honest, open, memorable, and builds team unity like none other.”

Mulcahy is one of the foremost field events coaches in the country and has served as an assistant coach for both men and women on national teams that toured the Philippines and Taiwan, giving clinics to coaches of both countries. A former president of the NCAA Track Coaches Association, he was named the men's West Region Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2004. He earned his B.A. from Pomona College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Paul Saint-Amour, an associate professor of English, joined the Pomona faculty in 1997. He teaches Modern British Literature, British Novel II, Literature of the Victorian Period, Subcontinent Literatures in English, Henry James and his Contemporaries, James Joyce and Late Joyce and his Legacies. This is his second Wig Award.

Student comments include: “Professor Saint-Amour is the best teacher I've ever had. He's brilliant, kind, and able to make students understand the problems with their arguments and ideas in a way that makes them feel as if they've discovered those problems, and the solutions, on their own.” “A great teacher, but an even better person.” “More than any other person at Pomona, Professor Saint-Amour has challenged me intellectually… He embodies everything we should cherish as an intellectual community: brilliance, eloquence, humility, and most importantly, compassion.”

Saint-Amour’s book, The Copywrights: Intellectual Property and the Literary Imagination (2003) was recently recognized with the Modern Language Association’s Best First Book Award. His articles have appeared in a number of professional journals including Nineteenth-Century Literature, European Joyce Studies, James Joyce Quarterly, and Henry James Review. During 2005-06, he will be a residential fellow at the National Humanities Center in Research in N.C. and work on a new book, tentatively titled Archive, Bomb, Camera: Modernism in the Shadow of Total War. He earned his B.A. from Yale University and his Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Pomona College, one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions, offers a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research.