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History Professor Bruce Kuklick and Classical Studies Professor Jeremy McInerney were both named this year's recipients of the Ira Abrams Award for Distinguished Teaching, the highest teaching award given by the School of Arts and Sciences. Kuklick, the Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor in American History, has been teaching American history at Penn for 28 years. "I'm very much honored by SAS in getting this award," Kuklick said. "I think I do a competent job teaching, but I never thought of myself as doing anything outstanding." Kuklick characterized his teaching style as flamboyant, adding that he uses dramatic presentations to convey important points. "What you really teach, in some respects, is yourself," he explained. McInerney was out of the country yesterday and could not be reached for comment. According to Classical Studies Department Chair Ralph Rosen, the professor -- who came to Penn into 1992 and received tenure just two years ago -- largely focuses on ethnic identity in ancient Greece, ancient inscriptions and archaeology. "He's just an amazing professor," Rosen said. "He has very high standards [for students] and still manages to have students adore him." Rosen also commended McInerney's polished and dynamic lecturing style. In a similar vein, History Department Chairwoman Lynn Lees commended the decision to give the award to Kuklick. "I have heard for years students praise his classes," she said. "He has extraordinary range as a teacher and extraordinary commitment." Lees said she thought Kuklick drew his strength as a teacher both from his expertise in a variety of areas and his excitement about studying history. "He brings an enormous passion for history, along with an ability to relate part of individual experience with large historical trends, to class," she explained, calling him a "dynamic teacher." "He teaches all over the map and he does it superbly. I was absolutely delighted when I learned he received the award," she continued. The award, now in its 16th year, is given to one or two faculty members annually. Last year, Psychology Professor Robert Rescorla received the Ira Abrams Award. English Professor Vicki Mahaffey and Math Professor Frank Warner -- both still teaching at Penn -- were the first recipients of the award in 1983. According to College Dean Richard Beeman, a committee of four or five faculty members determined this year's award recipients. He added that "students have significant input in the nomination process." Beeman also emphasized that SAS introduced three new awards to recognize undergraduate teaching this year. "The school is making a considerable effort to highlight the importance of excellent teaching and to award it with high visibility," he explained.

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