Three College of Arts and Architecture faculty members are being honored with excellence awards this spring: Daryl Durran, professor of music (bassoon), will receive the Award for Excellence in Advising and Mentoring, while Jamie Cooper, assistant professor of architecture, and Langston J. Fitzgerald, professor of music (trumpet), will receive the Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching.
A member of the School of Music faculty since 1983, Durran is recognized as an “expert adviser, a caring career counselor, and an advocate for curricular improvement.” As assistant director of the school since 2008, he has in-depth knowledge of the numerous and often-intricate degree programs, and applies that knowledge in working with students school-wide. His colleagues praise him for the expert guidance and individual mentoring he gives to his advisees and any other music students who seek his assistance. Durran’s advisees praise his ability to help them wade through administrative obstacles and complicated degree requirements, as well as his dedication and willingness to go out of his way to assist them.
On the administrative front, Durran is recognized for his efforts in implementing widely beneficial curricular revisions and for his creation of an “Advising Help Sheet” for faculty members, which allows them to more easily guide their advisees through their degree requirements. Said one nominator: “Characteristically, this was undertaken simply because Professor Durran recognized the need and sought a way to help.”
Cooper has been a member of the Architecture faculty since 2007. Since then, he has distinguished himself as one of the most sought-after teachers in the department, teaching a range of courses including the required introductory drawing classes, studio design, elective upper-level drawing classes, and architectural analysis and design courses. Recognized for his innovative and engaging teaching style, he is also noted for his passion, his “encyclopedic knowledge” of his subject matter, and his ability to relate well to students. According to one nominator, “It is rare to see students in any of his classes, even those that can be three hours in length, lose focus on the subject up for discussion.”
Both his students and colleagues praise his dedication to providing the best learning experience and helping each student meet his or her individual potential. As another nominator wrote, Cooper is a “transformative teacher” whose influence carries through to his students’ later years of study. “On many occasions I have witnessed undergraduate fifth-year design studio students utilize the methods and/or historical theories embedded much earlier by Professor Cooper … .”
Fitzgerald joined the School of Music faculty in 2003, after teaching at both Catholic University and the Peabody Conservatory of Music. He has had an impressive career as a symphony player, performing trumpet with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra from 1990 to 2003. His colleagues praise the ease with which he made the transition from symphony player to teacher, noting his continuing active performing career makes him an important role model for his students.
Fitzgerald is recognized for his energy, enthusiasm, high expectations, and genuine interest in his students. Many of them have won positions in major symphony orchestras, including the Chicago and Atlanta symphonies and the U.S. Air Force Band. As one nominator notes, all of Fitzgerald’s students play very difficult literature and perform at an extremely high standard “every single semester, without exception.” His students praise him for his dedication, superior teaching skills, and warm personality coupled with an ability to always push them to do their best. As one nominator wrote, “being a student under the tutelage of Fitz has been an honor and blessing.”