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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)




The Department of Politics and International Studies is delighted to announce the award of the 2021 Aaron Rapport Prize for excellent undergraduate teaching to Dr Evaleila Pesaran of Murray Edwards College.


In the annual feedback survey that POLIS administers the commentaries on Dr Pesaran’s teaching were superb, with one student observing that “I've had a lot of great supervisors at Cambridge but Evaleila is brilliant”, pointing to how “she's really encouraging and great at listening to our thoughts and eking more ideas out of us” and “her feedback on essays is also always really thorough, interesting and provocative” such that “I feel like every time I write an essay for Evaleila I know how to improve on the last”.


POLIS has been awarding a teaching prize for a few years, which has been won by both more junior and senior scholars. Dr Tom Hopkins won in both 2017 and 2018, and the prize was shared between Dr James Wood and Dr Ashley Walsh in 2019. For 2020 the teaching prize was renamed the Aaron Rapport Prize in honour of our late and much lamented colleague, who died far too young in 2019 and who was himself a superlative teacher, and Professor Jude Browne was the inaugural winner of the Rapport Prize.


Commenting on the award, Dr Christopher Brooke, Director of Undergraduate Education in POLIS, remarked that “It was so gratifying, after a difficult year spent largely on Zoom, to read some of the appreciative feedback that students supplied about their supervisors”.


When announcing the Rapport Prize to the Department, he added that there should be Honourable Mentions for two other colleagues, Mr Ian Shields and Dr Devon Curtis, who had terrific feedback for, especially, their contributions to POL3 and POL16 respectively, but it was the consistency of Dr Pesaran’s feedback across both Part I and Part II courses, whether teaching general introductory papers or her specialism on the Middle East, that ultimately scooped her the prize.



On receiving the news, Dr Pesaran said,


I feel very honoured to receive this prize, and I am moved by its association with Aaron and his wonderful teaching—I thoroughly enjoy teaching our brilliant students, and I truly do learn from them as much as they learn from me. That's what's so wonderful about the Cambridge supervision system.






Read Evaleila's Profile here>>

See Evalleila's video on interview advice>>