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Prize that matters 

Cyrus Taylor, renowned as a dean, wins the Wittke award for teaching 

Former Dean Cyrus Taylor admits to feeling some trepidation when he walked into a classroom in the spring of 2020 and faced a roomful of students, having not taught a class in years. He need not have worried. 

Those students helped him to receive the 2021 Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, one of the highest honors Case Western Reserve bestows upon a teacher. 

“This one is special,” said Taylor, the Albert A. Michelson Professor in Physics. “I can’t tell you how much it means to me after having served as dean for so long.” 

Taylor arrived at CWRU in 1988 and was chair of the physics department from 2005 until he was appointed Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 2006. When he stepped down in 2018, he was known as “dean of deans,” one of the most experienced administrators on campus. 

Taylor’s return to the faculty ranks was no walk into the classroom. The pandemic forced professors and students to adapt to remote learning only weeks into the spring semester. As reported in The Daily, the university’s online news source, Taylor impressed students with his knowledge of physics, his humbleness and his dedication. 

“I most value his empathy,” one student nominator wrote. “Particularly in the midst of the pandemic, considering the intrinsic difficulty of this subject, he treated us more as colleagues than students.” 

“If I ever become a professor,” another wrote, “I’m going to try my hardest to be like Professor Taylor.” 

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