In a class with over 80 students, Professor Richard Murnane made time to interact in smaller groups by choosing to eat lunch with his students. After three proofreaders reviewed a doctoral student’s dissertation, it was Murnane who discovered a few typos, proving how closely he read every word, a student said. “He really exemplified thoughtful, constructive, and instructive teaching,” a student wrote about Murnane.
As Murnane’s students can attest, he has gone above and beyond as a teacher. At the HGSE Convocation on Wednesday, June 6, Murnane was recognized for his work by receiving the Morningstar Family Teaching Award, given annually to a faculty member for his generosity in providing time and support to students.
“I am deeply moved to be chosen as this year’s recipient of the Morningstar Teaching Award,” he said. “Our school has a great many excellent teachers from whom I have learned a great deal. Moreover, our students are a delight to teach — smart, engaged, challenging. To be able to teach at HGSE is a great blessing in my life.”
The award includes a $5,000 prize and recognition on a plaque in the Gutman Library lobby. Murnane was nominated along with 38 other faculty members, with 99 students making nominations.
The Morningstar Award recipient was chosen using a three stage process. During the first two weeks of May 2007, HGSE master’s and doctoral students submitted nominations for faculty members via an online poll. After reviewing all nominated faculty members, a student advisory committee for master's and doctoral students provided additional feedback on the nominees. Based on student testimonials and input from the student advisory committees, representatives from the Dean’s Office then selected the honoree.
Murnane, an economist, focuses his research on the relationships between education and the economy, teacher labor markets, the determinants of children’s achievement, and strategies for making schools more effective. In 2001, Murnane began helping the central office of the Boston Public Schools to better support the schools efforts in learning from student assessment results. His work on this project with two Harvard colleagues resulted in the 2005 book, Data Wise: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Assessment Results to Improve Teaching and Learning.
Past recipients of the Morningstar Award include Senior Lecturer Kay Merseth (2001), Aronson Associate Professor Wendy Luttrell (2002), Associate Professor Bridget Terry Long (2003), Shattuck Professor Catherine Snow (2004), former professor Eleanor Drago-Severson (2005), and Professor John Willett (2006).