George Mason Professor Benedict Carton was recently selected as a national finalist by the National Society of Collegiate Scholars for the Inspire Integrity Award.
The only national student-nominated faculty awards program, these awards are presented to full-time university faculty who have, through their lessons and actions, made a significant impact on the lives of their students and instilled a high degree of personal and academic integrity.
Dr. Carton, a professor in the Department of History and Art History, was chosen as a national finalist out of the competition’s southern region, representing colleges and universities from Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.
“I understand that the anonymous recommendations of GMU students enabled me, in large measure, to be considered for this recognition,” said Carton. “It made me proud that NSCS was so impressed with our undergraduates, particularly their desire in the classroom to engage in critical thinking and apply what they learn in our courses to different life pursuits, especially professional paths that might lead to greater social responsibility.”
Carton’s style of teaching with his students goes beyond classroom tactics, according to his colleagues and students.
His meetings with students are about creating a constructive rapport, showing them he cares about them as individuals, says Department of History and Art History Chair Brian Platt.
“His purpose, it seemed to me, was to ask questions strategically to find out about his students’ basic ideas or beliefs, then challenge them to hold to those core convictions passionately and to bring them to bear upon the world,” Platt said. “Ben is extraordinarily skilled at relating to people of different backgrounds and vigilant about making them feel valued and understood. His respect for students earns him the right to challenge them.”
Rebecca Struwe, a 2007 graduate (B.A. Global Affairs) and current M.A. student at Johns Hopkins University, credits much of her educational success to Carton’s teaching style.
“[Professor Carton] did not just lecture, instead, he helped students discover truths and ideas for ourselves through careful analysis of texts and through interaction with our colleagues,” said Struwe. “When I first began graduate school and felt overwhelmed, Professor Carton challenged me to always maintain my integrity and encouraged me that I would soon find my niche in my new environment, which indeed was the case.”
June 24, 2009