Moon Draper & Charity Urbanski both win HETA

May 7, 2019

Moon Draper & Charity Urbanski both win HETA

Too many great teachers to celebrate just one

We are thrilled to announce the recipients of our 2019 Honors Excellence in Teaching Award (HETA), which is determined by Honors student nominations. This year, there were two teachers who inspired the same number of students to write in on their behalf, so we are making not one but two awards to two wonderfully deserving UW Honors faculty!

This year’s HETA Award goes to both Professor Moon Draper (Biology) and Professor Charity Urbanski (History)!

Who they are and why students love them

Portrait of Moon Draper on black background.

Dr. Moon Draper has a long history of teaching for honors programs.  In his experience he has found the diversity of thought, background, and perspective endlessly refreshing. So much so, that he has come out of retirement to teach again. Draper says, “Every time that I teach, I learn and gain perspective — the very stuff of life for me.”

Draper’s PhD was in Molecular Neurons-genetics.  Prior to that, he had earned several degrees in sciences. Before arriving at UW, he taught and worked with students in Liberal Arts Honours, Sciences Honours, and Health Science Honours. He was the director of the Polymath Scholars program and the Texas Interdisciplinary Program.

At UW, Draper teaches teach Medical Ethics, Modern Problems in Biology, Endocrinology, Neurophysiology, and Medical Physiology. 

Mooning over Moon

“Dr. Draper knew the subject inside-out and was enthusiastic about the course content. He gave us a lot to think about, as is expected from an ethics class. He also easily pointed out loopholes in thought processes in a way that, rather than embarrassing the student and silencing the class, gave the students more to think about and analyze.”

“Dr. Draper is very kind, and really cares about each individual student and he connects his lectures to our separate interests.”

“Our final project was to draft a law regarding the usage of CRISPR technology. Not only was the assignment thought-provoking and detail-intensive in a manner that required students to think about impacts and the environment, he also met with my group outside of class at Cafe Solstice in order to go over our drafts and give feedback.”

Selected excerpts from student-written nominations

Urbanski makes history fresh

Dr. Charity Urbanski is a historian of Medieval Europe focusing on the political and cultural history of twelfth-century France and England. Her interest in history derives from her desire to understand the world we currently live in, and particularly how contemporary cultural attitudes and political arrangements came into being. She was drawn to medieval history because the period was one of important transformations, and because it was populated with people who are at once familiar to us and yet still profoundly foreign in many of their assumptions, attitudes, and practices.

Before coming to the University of Washington in 2008, she taught at UC Berkeley and UCLA. Her recent course offerings at UW have included the History Honors sequence, and seminars on Medieval Outlaws, the Monstrous and the Supernatural in the Middle Ages, the History of Ritual, and the Politics of Medieval History Writing. Her lecture courses include lower division surveys of the Medieval World and Tudor England, and upper division courses on Medieval England, Medieval Women, and the Late Middle Ages.

Here are just a few of the great things students in the Honors History section have to say about her:

“While the subject of my research was quite different from Dr. Urbanski’s area of expertise, she demonstrated consistent and genuine enthusiasm for my work and aided me at every stage of the research and writing process. She was consistently available whenever extra help was needed, and seemed to delight in helping every student in our cohort find their unique voice.”

“Professor Urbanski guides you without telling you what to do or not to do. She encourages students to pursue projects that are personally meaningful to them.”

“Of all the instructors I have had during my time at UW, Dr. Urbanski has done the most to make me feel like an academic equal, like I truly could contribute something unique and important to historical scholarship. The study of history has always played a great role in my life, but it is only since working with scholars like Dr. Urbanski that I have begun to believe that I could contribute something valuable to this field which has always excited and inspired me.”

Selected excerpts from student-written nominations

We hope you will join us in congratulating these outstanding UW faculty who are making such an impact on students in our community.