Ben Mylius nominated for Columbia University’s prestigious teaching awards.
Ben Mylius, 2014 Murray-Darling Basin Authority John Monash Scholar, has been selected as a finalist for Columbia University’s 2021 Presidential Awards for Outstanding Teaching. Out of 500 nominations, Ben was selected as one of the top 10 finalists for this prestigious award. Established in 1996 to honour Columbia’s best teachers, they acknowledge commitment to excellence and innovative teaching which is recognised by the entire Columbia community. Ben received five separate nominations from students for his course Humans, Nature, and the Future: An Introduction to Environmental Political Theory.
With a strong teaching philosophy at the heart of his practice, Ben’s approach has followed the American pragmatic tradition and taken it further by bringing students into an ongoing conversation about how collective intellect, ethics and imagination can help us respond to contemporary global problems. He explains his approach to students using three metaphors: Teaching as tour guiding, Learning as acquiring new languages and The classroom as a laboratory for making sense of the world. These three ideas have served Ben with an opportunity to open discussions with students and develop special responses to universal questions. The teaching skill Ben demonstrates is evident as he focuses on linking political theory to the broader activities of student life outside the classroom.
Student testimonials attest.
“I got to meet so many people through this class - I had such incredible discussions. The assigned reading was SO interesting and enriching… More than just that, I think the essays we got to write were so open minded and challenging in a sense that we actually had to do some soul searching and thinking… And that is so important as we still develop and are trying to understand our values and world views…”
“Humans, Nature, and the Future with Ben Mylius might be the best Columbia class of my undergraduate career. Environmental Political Theory is relevant to nearly every contemporary political debate. Yet, it's too often glossed over by the political science department at Columbia. At its core, this course is interdisciplinary. It incorporates perspectives from political science, philosophy, economics, human rights, natural science, sociology, anthropology, creative writing, and more. I was especially inspired by Prof. Mylius’s emphasis on the importance of narratives and storytelling, without which we have no way of truly understanding humankind’s relationship with nature or appreciating the significance of non-human species. The discussions inspired by the readings were fascinating and never felt contrived; the majority of my peers seemed excited to learn about environmental political theory and discuss its influence on society. I wish more classes like this were offered!”
The General Sir John Monash Foundation congratulates Ben on the work he has done to inspire the minds of Columbia University’s political science students and on his nomination for the prestigious Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching.