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Blatt Receives Morningstar Family Teaching Award

Joseph BlattStudents called Senior Lecturer Joe Blatt, Ed.M.'77 — this year’s recipient of the Morningstar Family Teaching Award — “passionate,” “the ultimate educator,” and full of “infectious enthusiasm.”

At the HGSE Convocation on Wednesday, May 25, Blatt, also director of the Technology, Education, and Innovation Program, 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 really love the Ed School – the sense of mission, the commitment to improving life opportunities for children, and the caring community we share on Appian Way,” Blatt said. “It’s a privilege to teach here, to be stimulated by smart and creative students from all over the world, and to learn from so many brilliant and innovative faculty colleagues. So I am deeply grateful for the kind words from the student nominations and the generous decision by the dean. If you add to all that the amazing roster of previous recipients – scholars and teachers I admire so much – you can begin to imagine how thrilled I am by this award.”

The award includes a $5,000 prize and recognition on a plaque in the Gutman Library lobby. Blatt was nominated along with 43 other faculty members, with 240 students making nominations.

The Morningstar Family Teaching 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 submissions, an advisory committee provided additional feedback on the nominees. Based on student testimonials and input from the student advisory committee, representatives from the dean’s office then selected the honoree.

Blatt joined the HGSE faculty in 2003. His interests include the effects of media content and technology on development, learning, and civic behavior. Blatt has created television series and websites for many kinds of learning environments, and he has helped to renew the historic relationship between HGSE and Sesame Workshop. His production company, RiverRun Media, creates series and specials for national public television. Blatt recently completed Surprises in Mind, a primetime documentary about children’s capacity for mathematical thinking.

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

For full coverage of Commencement 2011, visit http://wpdev.gse.harvard.edu/news-impact/tag/commencement/.