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Molly Scudder: Antonia Syson Cornerstone Teaching Award

Molly Scudder: Antonia Syson Cornerstone Teaching Award 

Assistant Professor of Political Science Mary (Molly) Scudder has been named the 2021 winner of the Antonia Syson Cornerstone Teaching Award.

The Syson Award was named in honor of Antonia Syson who taught classics at Purdue University from 2008 to 2018. The award is given to faculty members who excel as creative instructors and serve as mentors to others.

Housed in the College of Liberal Arts, the Cornerstone program “emphasizes gateway courses aimed at incoming students and is anchored in transformative texts — the greatest that has been thought, said, and written across human history.”

Melinda Zook, Professor of History and Director of the Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts program, describes Professor Scudder as a “compelling presence in the classroom, rigorous and challenging.” As one of seven founding members of Cornerstone, Professor Scudder worked with CLA faculty, including Syson and Zook, to design the first-year Cornerstone sequence.

In addition to her work in the Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts program, Professor Scudder specializes in political theory, with a research focus on deliberative democracy. Professor Scudder’s teaching is informed by her expertise on listening across disagreement.

Her recently published book Beyond Empathy and Inclusion: The Challenge of Listening in Democratic Deliberation (Oxford University Press, 2020) asks how we can achieve democracy in large pluralistic societies, when “the people” do not agree.

Professor Scudder came to Purdue in 2016. In fall 2019, she spent the semester as a visiting fellow at the Center for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra, Australia. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Santa Clara University, Professor Scudder received her Ph.D. in government from the University of Virginia. Scudder’s work has been published in Political Studies, Polity, Political Research Quarterly, and PS: Political Science and Politics.