Michele Moses, associate dean for graduate studies in the School of Education, has been awarded the 2016 Hazel Barnes Prize, the most distinguished award a faculty member can receive from the university. She is also the first education faculty member to receive the award.
Since 1992, the Hazel Barnes Prize has been awarded each year to a CU Boulder faculty member who best exemplifies the enriching interrelationship between teaching and research, and whose work has had a significant impact on students, faculty, colleagues and the university.
“Professor Moses is a sought-after expert on questions of democracy, equality and race in education,” Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano said. “Not only does she bring sound research and sage insights to these vital issues, she puts her students at the center of all she does. She is a valued teacher, mentor and advisor to education students at CU Boulder. I congratulate her on being duly recognized by this prestigious honor.”
The prize includes a $20,000 cash award and an engraved university medal. The medal will be presented at the spring commencement. Moses also will be recognized at a reception in the fall that will include former Hazel Barnes Prize recipients, family members, colleagues and students.
Moses is a philosopher of education centrally concerned with education policy, and the prize was established in 1991 in honor of renowned philosophy Professor Emerita Hazel Barnes, who taught at CU Boulder from 1943 to 1986.
For Moses, the award isn’t just about her.
“It’s a testament to the mission of the School of Education and how committed we are, as researchers and scholars, to our students and our teaching,” Moses said. “I’m certainly not the only one who works hard and purposefully to integrate research, scholarship, teaching and mentoring. It’s close to our hearts and very much a part of our mission in this school. It reflects all of us.”
Moses found her passion for education early in life. As the first of her family to attend and graduate from college, Moses immersed herself in the experience by getting involved with various clubs on campus, including student leadership.
She was awarded a master’s degree in philosophy and a doctoral degree in education from CU Boulder. She also received a master’s degree in higher education from the University of Vermont. Moses worked for six years at Arizona State University as an assistant professor, eventually being asked to join our CU Boulder faculty. Her research focuses on the powerful interconnections between questions of democracy, equality and race in education.
Moses’ devotion to integrating student mentorship within her research is one reason she was nominated by her peers—and chosen by the Hazel Barnes committee—as this year’s awardee. In one example, she worked with a variety of people, including some of her graduate students, on a two-year research project in 2008 examining a ban on affirmative action in Colorado that voters rejected.
“It was an opportunity for mentoring and collaborating with my students, while integrating my discipline of philosophy into survey analysis, community dialogues and interviews of study participants,” Moses said. “It also allowed my students to experience a research project from inception to completion—including funding, researching, presenting and publishing.”
In the true spirit of the Hazel Barnes Prize, Moses’s recently published book, Living with Moral Disagreement: The Enduring Controversy about Affirmative Action, includes a chapter that she co-wrote with two CU Boulder doctoral students, Lauren Saenz and Amy Farley Lobue.