November 19, 2021
By Jordan Berkovitz
A Painting faculty member noted for driving her students to learn how to start, continue and grow their studio practice; a Liberal Arts faculty member praised for her passion and credited for exciting students about learning; and a legacy faculty member remembered for his dedication and for bringing his life experiences as a veteran to Photography Department studios—all received community-nominated teaching awards in May from the Cleveland Institute of Art.
Lane Cooper, associate professor in Painting, and the late Robert Palmer, Faculty Emeritus, both received the Viktor Schreckengost Teaching Excellence Award, an award presented to current or former faculty in honor of the 1929 alum and professor who taught almost 70 years at CIA.
Liberal Arts lecturer Elizabeth Hoag received the Dan Tranberg Teaching Excellence Award, which is presented to a current non-ranked faculty. It’s named in honor of the late Tranberg, who taught at CIA for 16 years.
Cooper started teaching at CIA in 2001. As an artist, she works through painting, sound, video, text, and occasionally, performance. One of Cooper’s nominators noted that she “drives her students to learn technique, materials, supports, mediums, styles, emerging artists, dead artists, great artists and obscure artists.”
“To be honest, I cried a bit when I found out I was chosen,” Cooper says. “It felt very validating. Receiving it is a nod, from colleagues and from students, that says that for the most part I’ve done OK. In terms of teaching, that means everything.
“This award is a conscious reminder that the pursuit of creativity and an exchange of ideas is what CIA is committed to,” she says. “I’m grateful not just for the award, but for what it signifies: a commitment going all the way back through the history of the school to the cultivation of an extraordinary community.”
Hoag has taught at CIA since 2013. She is an anthropologist and now a PhD candidate (ABD) in anthropology with a concentration in archaeology. One of her nominators emphasized her positive energy for her teaching and her students.
“I felt incredibly honored to receive this award. It meant the world to me to know that my work at the College was connecting with students and colleagues,” Hoag says. “I deeply appreciate the recognition and feel inspired and validated to continue my work at CIA. I hope to continue to challenge and engage students in my classes by offering course material that interests them, informs their artistic practice in new ways, and expands their knowledge and worldview through anthropology.”
Palmer began teaching in CIA’s Photography department in 1971 after a career as a commercial photographer for the U.S. Air Force in Korea and the Far East, where he provided combat and documentary photography and made documentary and educational films for the Air Research and Development Command. He was willing to share the wisdom gained through his life experiences with students, instilling in them an excitement and joy in investigating the photographic image.
Kathryn Heidemann, CIA’s senior vice president of academic affairs and chief operating officer, is excited that these faculty members—particularly those teaching today—have been recognized.
“If there’s one thing I’m especially proud—and in awe—of during my time here at CIA, it’s the passion, effectiveness and fierce creativity of our faculty,” Heidemann says. “Through their teaching, Cooper and Hoag truly embody the values of our institution, and the care they put into their pedagogical practice is unsurmountable. I am so thrilled that their efforts have been recognized through these prestigious honors.”
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