Nena Stracuzzi

Excellence in Teaching, 2022

Nina Stracuzzi

When Nena Stracuzzi teaches Sexual Behavior or Sociology of the Family, she knows these subjects will resonate with students, even though conversations may be difficult and even controversial. But it’s that real-world connection she’s after, knowing it will enliven students and connect them to the material. Through her deep theoretical and empirical knowledge of the subject matter, her compassionate individual attention that encourages sharing, as well as rich lesson plans attuned to contemporary issues, she fosters enthusiastic engagement. And she expects nothing less.

Medical Sociology, a course Stracuzzi teaches frequently, is central to sociology department curriculum and critical to students preparing for the MCAT and admission to medical school. Here, she has impacted not only generations of students, but legions of their patients and patient families, to which several former students have attested, bringing an important sociological perspective to today’s health care practice. 

For many years, Stracuzzi has been at the forefront of online and hybrid teaching, making the COVID pedagogical transition smoother for students and enabling them to maintain high levels of learning during challenging times. Her online courses also provide flexibility for students in the summer and January terms.

In course evaluations and nomination letters, students – both undergraduate and graduate – are prolific with their praise for her intellect, enthusiasm, mentorship and commitment. As one student wrote: “Dr. Stracuzzi challenged me to think about the world as a sociologist, both inside and outside the classroom. Her lectures stay with you as you move through the world.”

About This Award

Each year, the University selects a small number of its outstanding faculty for special recognition of their achievements in teaching, scholarship, and service. Awards for Excellence in Teaching are given in each college and school, and University-wide awards recognize public service, research, teaching, and engagement.