Jeremiah Patterson Receives Donald W. Davis UIS Award

May 04, 2021
Submitted By: Office of Marketing and Communication
photo of Jeremiah Patterson

Jeremiah Patterson, professor of foundation at the Hartford Art School, is the 2021 recipient of the Donald W. Davis University Interdisciplinary Studies (UIS) Award.

The award recognizes effective interdisciplinary teaching, as well as overall contributions to the University Interdisciplinary Studies curriculum.

Through his contributions to the UIS program, Patterson has demonstrated outstanding effectiveness and creativity as an interdisciplinary teacher and scholar while elevating course development and advocacy for interdisciplinary education.

At the Hartford Art School, Patterson teaches painting and drawing as a professor of foundations. His artwork has been exhibited widely throughout the country and is in more than 100 private and corporate collections.

Across the larger University landscape, Patterson co-teaches the UIS course Science in Art with James McDonald, associate dean of budget and finance, College of Arts and Sciences, and associate professor and chair, physics. As McDonald writes in nominating Patterson for the Donald W. Davis Award, the course explores art making and artists, infusing this endeavor with scientific experimentation in optics, wave phenomena, chemistry, and psychology. The course is a perennial favorite. Student evaluations note the enthusiasm Patterson has for the topic, his deep knowledge that allows him to explain complex subjects, and his willingness to work with students to see them succeed.

Of special note are the lengths Patterson took to ensure this course was available in the fall of 2020. The original labs required special equipment from both the Physics and the Foundations departments and were designed to be completed by a pair of students. In response to COVID-19, Patterson revised the experiments then designed and assembled individual laboratory kits for each student. These ingenious assemblages held over 50 items, many that could be used in multiple experiments. Even the box containing the kits was used in an experiment. Planning for a worst-case scenario, Patterson and McDonald created self-guided lab instructions so that students could complete the work at home if necessary.

As Katharine A. Owens, director of University Interdisciplinary Studies, wrote in her nomination, “What a gift for our program and University that professors Patterson and McDonald made an extraordinary effort to ensure our students this opportunity.”