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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Ben Bradley Receives Wasserstrom Prize for Graduate Teaching

The prize memorializes William Wasserstrom, a noted professor of English at Syracuse University.

May 14, 2021, by A&S News Staff

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Ben Bradley, winner of the 2021 Wasserstrom Prize for Graduate Teaching.

Ben Bradley, the Anita and Allan D. Sutton Distinguished Professor of Philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S), is the 2021 recipient of the William Wasserstrom Prize for the Teaching of Graduate Students.

A&S Dean Karin Ruhlandt will formally confer the prize on him at the Graduate School Doctoral Hooding Ceremony on Friday, May 21.

The prize memorializes William Wasserstrom, a noted professor of English at Syracuse, who died in 1985. Every year since then, an Arts and Sciences professor is recognized who embodies professor Wasserstrom’s approach as a graduate seminar leader, research and dissertation director, advisor and role model.

“Ben is so deserving of this honor for his extraordinary commitment to teaching and mentorship. He is a model of academic and personal achievement,” Ruhlandt says.

Bradley is the Anita and Allan D. Sutton Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, and chair of that department, the second time he has held that position. His research interests lie in ethical theory and the philosophy of death, and he is the author of two books and editor of several and has published 36 papers about virtue, goodness, harm, the environment and other topics.

His nomination letter from the philosophy department’s executive committee notes his “significant contributions” to the department’s students, such as serving in positions including director of graduate studies, founding director of the integrated learning major in ethics and director of undergraduate studies, 2008-11.

Bradley’s students find him generous with time, advice and feedback. His letters of nomination are filled with phrases like, “Ben’s tireless support and feedback,” “strategic advice,” “empowering,” “curious and open-minded,” and “rare capacity” for mentorship.

Former students, now in the workplace, share these sentiments, noting Bradley’s impact on their teaching, research and careers.

Sean Clancy, assistant professor of philosophy at East China Normal University, says he tries to provide his students with the same kind of support that Bradley provided him.

Travis Timmerman, professor of philosophy at Seton Hall University, recalls that a grant Bradley applied for helped Travis finish his dissertation and enter the workforce.

Kris McDaniel, professor of philosophy at Notre Dame, uses Bradley’s handouts in her own classes.

Bradley’s colleagues agree that he is a fitting recipient of the Wasserstrom Prize. As David Sobel, the Guttag Professor of Ethics and Political Philosophy, observed, “Ben excels in all the criteria that it is meant to reward.”