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Harris Presented with Morningstar Family Teaching Award

Students called Professor Paul Harris -- this year's recipient of the Morningstar Family Teaching Award -- "accessible and approachable," "a patient and caring advocate," and "the best mentor I have ever had."

At the HGSE Convocation on Wednesday, May 26, Harris was honored with the Morningstar Family Teaching Award, presented annually to a faculty member for his or her generosity in providing time and support to students. "I feel honored," Harris said. "This is a clear endorsement of my teaching philosophy: short reading lists, long lunch breaks, and lively discussion."

The award includes a $5,000 prize and recognition on a plaque in the Gutman Library lobby. Harris was nominated along with 57 other faculty members, with 271 students making nominations.

The Morningstar Award recipient was chosen using a three stage process. In the spring, 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.

Harris joined the HGSE faculty in 2001. His interest is in the early development of cognition, emotion, and imagination. Harris studies whether children rely on their own firsthand observation or, alternatively, trust what other people tell them. His research also includes children's understanding of mental states and emotional states. His most recent book, The Work of the Imagination, gathers together several years of research carried out at Oxford University, where he taught developmental psychology.

Current faculty members who have received the Morningstar Award include Lecturer Terry Tivnan, Senior Lecturer Kay Merseth, and Professors Bridget Terry Long, Catherine Snow, John Willett, Richard Murnane, and Monica Higgins.