The Columbia College Academic Awards Committee announced the winners of the 2009 Mark Van Doren and Lionel Trilling awards Monday, with accolades going to chemistry professor James Leighton and history professor Mark Mazower, respectively.
According to a press release, the Mark Van Doren Award annually credits a Columbia professor for his or her commitment to undergraduate instruction and for "humanity, devotion to truth, and inspiring leadership." Leighton began teaching at Columbia in 1996, and has, done research into asymmetric synthesis. He currently teaches undergraduate organic chemistry, and has won the Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award.
"The Academic Awards Committee found compelling students' appreciation of him as an accessible and committed teacher," the release read.
In recent years the Van Doren award has gone to professors in humanities-related fields, though in 1999 mathematics professor Henry Pinkham garnered the award.
Mazower, the Ira D. Wallach Professor of World Order Studies, was honored with the Lionel Trilling award for his book "Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe." The Trilling is given to a Columbia author who "best exhibits the standards of intellect and scholarship" found in Trilling's work.
"It is a bold re-examination of a much-studied subject that ought to interest specialists and ordinary readers alike," the committee said.
Currently, Mazower teaches history of modern Greece, 20th-century Europe, and concurrent international affairs. This is his eighth book.
Last year's Trilling went to Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures professor Joseph Massad for his book "Desiring Arabs."
The Awards Committee is comprised of 10 students who solicit nominees for the honors. Committee members then spend the fall and spring semesters auditing the classes of Van Doren award nominees and reading works by those up for the Trilling award. They annually selected the winners in spring.
Leighton and Mazower will be celebrated with a formal ceremony in Low Library on May 7.