Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2011


Professor Sarah C. Stiles

In a scant half-dozen years on the hilltop, Professor Sarah Stiles seems to have already left an indelible imprint on the lives of many students who have passed through her classrooms, if we are to judge by the perfervid admiration they express about her efforts as a teacher and even a life-guide. Dr. Stiles has achieved such deep and abiding respect from her students in all their diversity, generating their eagerness for “more,” by intellectually challenging yet supportively engaging them and in every course she teaches. Remarkably, she secures such respect while running courses which will brook no laziness or lack of commitment from her students. She herself is an indefatigable embodiment of Georgetown’s Ignatian value of “being for others,” most visible in her two Community-Based-Learning courses focusing on the city and on social entrepreneurship; the latter is her most often expressed passion, and two of its veterans created the now-national Compass Fellows Program, and give her credit for being their muse. Even students undertaking Sarah Stiles’s other courses, most notably “Law and Society,” see that ordinary-sounding description become a far deeper experience. Of course any Georgetown class on the topic of law will instantly secure high enrollments, but many students who have exited that course expressed sentiments close to an epiphany, after dealing with hot legal issues such as poverty, drugs, free speech, affirmative action, and immigration, while also learning how to brief cases and run a mock trial.

Dr. Stiles has also earned the deepest respect from her Sociology colleagues for her stellar course evaluations and course-rigor and for her ability to recruit new majors, and perhaps yet more impressively from our cross-campus colleagues in the form of grants and awards for her efforts to promote classroom diversity, deepen the study of mental-health and wellness issues, and advance the study and practice of social entrepreneurship.

The Dean of Georgetown College is proud to recognize Professor Sarah Stiles on this the 24th of January 2012, with the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Dean Chester Gillis