Professor Katharine Sarikakis, Professor of Communication Science, Director of the Media Governance and Industries Research Lab, and Jean Monnet Chair of European Media Governance and Integration at the University of Vienna, is the winner of the 2018 European Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences and Humanities, bestowed by CEU. Sarikakis received the Award and the accompanying €5,000 Diener Prize from CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff today.
Sarikakis, who began her career at Coventry University, is committed to integrating research and teaching. She engages and inspires students in classes of even 700 students, and does all this in the spirit of critical thinking and self-reflection, in order to help students really connect with their studies and their passion for changing the world. Sarikakis not only carries a full teaching load, with some classes taught in German, but also coordinates the Open Learning Initiative (OLIve) program at the University of Vienna, preparing refugees for further study.
“My aim is to make the possibilities and limitations of knowledge visible to students; I believe in the active thinker, researcher, intellectual, expert, professional in seeking to find solutions for the world,” Sarikakis said in her personal statement.
Sarikakis combined teaching and research with a two-year project in which students surveyed databases of murdered journalists, eventually producing the largest such database ever created, which was presented at an OSCE conference. Sarikakis was also the first woman to become a full professor at the University of Vienna’s Department of Communications in its 75-year history, and as a foreigner and a female scholar addressing sensitive subjects such as inequality, media, and human rights, is a role model for students from a variety of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.
Sarikakis “shows students her interest in elevating them and freeing them from their comfort zones, helping them not to be slaves to the question of where to get a job, but instead to be able to learn to represent themselves and their skills and knowledge in an adaptable but genuine way, to work for the sake of their own development and with the ethos of the common good in mind,” a colleague said in recommending her for the award. A former student, who has since played a key role in establishing the telecommunications regulator in Namibia, commended Sarikakis for providing similar inspiration.
The award was initiated by CEU Provost and Pro-Rector Liviu Matei upon CEU’s 20th anniversary in 2011. As a part of CEU’s commitment to excellence in teaching within the institution and across Europe and beyond, the award is administered by the University’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). The Diener Prize is made possible by a generous gift from Steven and Linda Diener in memory of Ilona Diener. For further information on the award and past winners, visit: https://ctl.ceu.edu/awards.