Kelly Bauer opens each class with a question:
“What is your biggest stressor right now?“
“What was the best thing you ate on Thanksgiving?”
The question topics range significantly, but her students greatly appreciate their engaged start to class.
“Dr. Bauer is extremely special and is the only person I see winning this award,” said a student who nominated her for the Margaret J. Prouty Faculty Teaching Award — the university’s top teaching prize.
Bauer, assistant professor of political science, began her career at Nebraska Wesleyan in 2015. She teaches introduction to international politics, immigration politics, Latin American politics, human rights, development, research methods and an Archway Seminar.
Earlier this year, she collaborated with three students thanks to the university’s Student Faculty Collaborative Research Grant where they researched immigration rhetoric. They presented their findings at the North Central Council for Latin Americanists Conference where they were recognized with the Collaborative Research Award.
In addition to teaching, Bauer focuses her research on indigenous territorial rights and land policy in Chile. She was selected to present the 2020 Faculty Scholarship Lecture, where she shared her research in Chile. That research also earned her this year’s Faculty Scholar Award. Her book Mapuche Demands and Chilean Land: Patterns of Governance in Post-Dictatorship Chile is under contract with the University of Pittsburg Press, and portions of the research appear in Journal of Agrarian Change (2016), and Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies (2018).
Bauer says conducting this research has influenced her own teaching from thinking about how states respond to demands from citizens to be more inclusive. She said it also challenges her to think about how Nebraska Wesleyan and her own classroom can be more inclusive.
“Dr. Kelly Bauer is one of the most intentional, dedicated professors I have had the pleasure and privilege to study under and learn from during my four years at NWU,” said another student nominator.
Previous winners of the Prouty Teaching Award include:
- Kelly Clancy, political science, 2018-2019
- Jonathan Redding, religion, 2017-18
- John Spilker, music, 2016-2017
- Tamra Llewellyn, health and human performance, 2015-2016
- Angela McKinney, biology, 2014-2015