Melissa Lane, Harvey Rosen to receive Phi Beta Kappa teaching awards

May 28, 2015 3 p.m.

The Princeton University chapter of Phi Beta Kappa will give its annual awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching to Melissa Lane, the Class of 1943 Professor of Politics, and Harvey Rosen, the John L. Weinberg Professor of Economics and Business Policy.

The awards will be presented at the Phi Beta Kappa induction ceremony, which will be held at 8:45 a.m. Monday, June 1, in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall, prior to the graduating seniors' Class Day ceremony.

Princeton students elected to the academic honor society have selected recipients of the teaching prize annually since 2004. The students define the criteria for excellence in teaching as skill in instruction, commitment to working with and building relationships with undergraduates, and ability to spark students' intellectual interests. Each winner is presented with a plaque.

Lane, associate chair of the politics department, joined the Princeton faculty in 2009. Her research has focused on the history of political thought and political philosophy, with particular expertise in ancient political theory.

"Although her research has covered a range of topics and works in pre-modern political theory, Professor Lane's work stands out for its concern with the ways in which intellectual expertise can engage with the rest of society, particularly through public service," senior Neil Hannan wrote in Lane's citation for the award. "In her recent book 'Eco-Republic: What the Ancients Can Teach Us About Ethics, Virtue and Sustainable Living,' … Professor Lane directly explores the role that experts can play within democratic societies to help confront large-scale problems, such as climate change."

Hannan also cited his appreciation for Lane's widespread engagement in the University's academic life, including teaching, advising thesis students and postgraduate fellowship applicants, and participating in programs such as the Human Values Forum, a discussion series held over dinner. "Her students at all levels have stressed her extraordinary commitment to teaching, as expressed through her clear and carefully planned lectures, her highly detailed feedback on written work at all stages of the writing process, and her willingness to continue discussion of class topics beyond the classroom," Hannan wrote.

Her numerous awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Sibley Fellowship from the Phi Beta Kappa Society, a Truman Scholarship and Marshall Scholarship. Lane earned her A.B. at Harvard University, and master's and doctoral degrees in philosophy at the University of Cambridge.

Rosen joined the Princeton faculty in 1974. He focuses his research on public finance and taxation, and he has served in the U.S. government twice, as deputy assistant secretary in the Treasury Department from 1989 to 1991 and as a member and then chair of the president's Council of Economic Advisers from 2003 to 2005.

Senior Alexander Sappington cited numerous examples of Rosen's "extraordinary" dedication and individualized attention as reasons for his selection. These included not only learning students' names in an 80-person class but inviting students to his home for coffee and dessert, helping them find internships and co-authoring papers. "I constantly see Professor Rosen eating lunch with students and hear of how he used his wide network to connect a peer to someone in the company they wanted to work for," Sappington wrote.

Said Sappington: "Whether you are the president of the United States or just an overeager freshman, Professor Rosen will treat you with the same patience and respect. Professor Rosen has been a tremendous teacher, adviser and friend to me and to so many other Princeton students throughout his career."

Rosen's honors include fellowship in the Econometric Society and the National Tax Association's Daniel M. Holland Medal for outstanding contributions to the study and practice of public finance. He earned his A.B. from the University of Michigan and his master's and doctoral degrees at Harvard.