The University Record, December 17, 2001

Soloway wins the Golden Apple Award for superb teaching

By Dana O. Fair
News and Information Services

Elliot Soloway was at home nursing a sore ankle when the 2002 Golden Apple Award prize patrol showed up. (Photo by Bill Wood, U-M Photo Services)
One student’s account of the first day at class: “Suddenly, a whirlwind of energy burst through the classroom door, a laptop under an arm, a giant stack of pink papers under the other, and a bagel in his mouth. ‘What on earth?’ I remember thinking. Someone in the room whispered, ‘Is that Jerry Garcia?’ It was as if the entire classroom had been sucked through a wormhole in space-time, and planted itself firmly in a parallel universe. When the first class was over, I turned to my friend sitting next to me, and asked, ‘What just happened?’”

What happened was Elliot Soloway, a professor of education, of information, and of engineering.

Several students and staff members stopped by Soloway’s home last week to inform him that he’d won the 2002 Golden Apple Award, an annual award presented by Students Honoring Outstanding University Teaching (SHOUT).

“It makes me feel terrific,” says Soloway. “It’s reaffirming that students understand that education is different from teaching. Teaching sounds like lecturing. It’s all about discussion. It’s about getting students to engage in discussion. It’s through discussion that they learn.”

“What’s my role in all this?” asked Soloway, who will deliver his Golden Apple “ideal last lecture,” at the reception and award presentation 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22 in the Mendelssohn Theatre, Michigan League. “People learn when they’re motivated,” he says. “It’s very personal. It’s about getting students to think.”