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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

Professor Dennis C Grube is the 2023 winner of the Aaron Rapport Teaching Prize

The Department of Politics and International Studies is delighted to announce the 2023 Aaron Rapport Teaching Prize for excellence in teaching has been awarded to Professor Dennis C Grube

Every year, the Department of Politics and International Studies awards a prize based on student feedback to the individual who has best informed student's education in Politics and International Studies over this past year. It could be a lecturer, a supervisor or a seminar-leader, in any of the multitude of fields and subfields taught within the larger department. The award of the prize is based not just on the number of nominations, but also on what our current students have to say about why they believe the award should go to that person.

When students were asked to nominate an academic who has exhibited excellence in teaching this year, Professor Grube's name came up again and again. Professor Grube lectures on the undergraduate programme and on the MPhil in Public Policy. He also teaches a course on Rhetorical Leadership for the MPhil in Politics and International Studies. 

This is just a brief selection of what some of Professor Grube's students had to say about him in this year's feedback survey:

"Prof. Grube is an inspirational figure within the programme and to his knowledge or not, he is key in supporting the whole cohort. It is not easy making politics and public policy fun and accessible. His delivery in the classroom, care in the spaces we share outside of class, support towards his supervising students but above all his open and inspirational character, have made him a reference point for all students. Sometimes my friends "envy" the rest of us who are advised by him. This very well-built balance of professionalism and accessibility that the Professor has created with his students is unmatched." 
- Student (MPhil in Public Policy)
"Throughout my education I have found that it is rare for a lecturer to be intelligent and skilful while still being able to make their lectures genuinely fun, leaving you feeling enriched and excited to learn more. Professor Grube embodies these traits and I am beyond grateful to have had the chance to learn from him."
Student (MPhil in Public Policy)
"This term he lectured on 'Politics of Public Policy'. As a former professional in the field of politics and policy, Professor Grube offered personal insight grounded in political theory. Each lecture was well-structured and logical for building our learning on the topic. Delivering this class to a very diverse cohort (across 13 different nationalities), he also ensured that our classes were grounded in real-world examples from different international perspectives. Professor Grube has exceeded my expectations for what learning should feel like at an institution such as Cambridge."
- Student (MPhil in Public Policy)
"Dennis Grube has inspired me more and on more levels than anyone in my life. He is a brilliant seminar convener who has prompted the most engaged discussions I have witnessed in my program. He is an amazing academic whose work on rhetoric has inspired me well beyond the boundaries of the seminar and MPhil curriculum. He is unbelievable in his willingness to meet students outside of class, always eager to discuss, from theoretical ideas and notions to personal fears and dreams. Lastly, and related, he is just a good person, with a blend of analytical and emotional brilliance that inspires higher ambitions in academia and everywhere else."
- Student (MPhil in Politics and International Studies)

POLIS has been awarding a teaching prize for many years which has been won by both junior and senior scholars. The teaching prize was renamed the Aaron Rapport Prize in 2020 in honour of our late and much lamented colleague, who died far too young in 2019 and who was one of the most popular and engaging lecturers in the department. His lectures and supervisions on US foreign policy and international relations drew some of the highest praise ever given by POLIS students for their originality, their humour and their captivating quality.  In previous years, the prize was for undergraduate teaching only.  In 2023, postgraduate teaching was included in the prize for the first time.

When asked about winning this year's prize, Professor Grube said, 

"It is a strange feeling to win a prize named in honour of someone I remember so vividly and with great affection. Aaron was both an outstanding teacher and a wonderfully supportive colleague. I miss him.
Teaching in POLIS is a privilege. I maintain that I learn much more from my students than they do from me. So I thank them for their generosity of spirit, their willingness to engage with the material, and their infectious enthusiasm. Our students will go on to change the world, and I shall watch on and applaud."

The Department of Politics and International Studies would like to congratulate Professor Grube on winning this year's prize.

Read more about the Aaron Rapport Teaching Prize