College of Liberal and Professional Studies Post-Baccalaureate Studies alumna and 2019 Dean’s Scholar Ramey Mize has been awarded the 2019 Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by Graduate Students for her work in the Department of History of Art. Announced by Steven J. Fluharty, Dean of Penn Arts & Sciences, and Paul Sniegowski, Stephen A. Levin Family Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, the honorees were recognized at a School-wide reception on Thursday, May 2.
Prior to joining the Post-Baccalaureate Studies (post-bacc) program, Ramey knew her future included a PhD in art history—the question of enrolling in a doctorate program wasn’t “if,” it was “how.”
“In 2016, I was working as an administrative assistant for the fine arts department at Penn. One day I was talking with Anna Marley, the curator of historical American art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia, and she suggested I look into whether I could take a class in the art history department as a University staff member,” says Ramey. “The class that semester happened to be a curatorial seminar on PAFA’s role in expanding the audience for American art in the nineteenth century, led by Professor Michael Leja, who is now my doctoral advisor, in partnership with Dr. Marley and the Arthur Ross Gallery.”
Ramey immediately wrote to Dr. Leja and asked him if she could enroll through Penn’s post-bacc program. He accepted, and within a few class sessions, Ramey knew she was where she was supposed to be.
“The climate and the culture in the art history department at Penn is just fabulous in every regard and incredibly positive, and it just gave me an immediate home,” she says. “A lot of places, it takes a long time to feel like you are part of the community, but this was instant for me.”
Today, Ramey is three years into her doctorate and has served as a teaching assistant for four courses. Teaching, she says, hasn’t just given her the opportunity to work with undergraduate students—it’s also expanded her own knowledge.
“Working with Penn students has been just a wonderful experience because they really are some of the most thoughtful, hardworking, committed students I’ve ever encountered,” she says. “And it’s amazing because when I’m teaching something I’m not as familiar with, I can offer up questions, and the students take it away. It feels like a very mutual conversation, and there’s nothing better than connecting with other people—whether they’re peers or students—over great art.”