Phi Beta Kappa Chapter Honors Reimitz with Teaching Award

Written by
Jennifer Altmann, for the Office of Communications
May 11, 2021

The Princeton University chapter of Phi Beta Kappa will present its annual awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching to Helmut Reimitz, professor of history and director of the Program in Medieval Studies, and Olga Russakovsky, assistant professor of computer science.

The awards will be presented at the virtual Phi Beta Kappa induction ceremony at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 23.

The students outline the criteria for excellence in teaching as skill in instruction, commitment to working with and building relationships with undergraduates, and the ability to spark students’ intellectual interests. Each winner is presented with a plaque.

Senior history concentrator Elizabeth Bailey describes Helmut Reimitz as “a living embodiment of the idea that we are all students for life.” Whether in class, during office hours, or at bi-weekly meetings organized by Reimitz as a forum for professors to share their work with junior and senior history concentrators, he exhibits — and inspires students with — his enthusiasm for learning and teaching.

“Professor Reimitz treats his students like his peers,” said Bailey. “In seminar, he once shared his own unpublished manuscript and solicited our feedback, pulling back the curtain on the academic process to a group of awestruck undergraduates.”

Bailey first met Reimitz while taking his seminar “Law after Rome,” and worked closely with him while earning a certificate in medieval studies. A scholar of the early Middle Ages, Reimitz strives to make medieval studies a more inclusive field. Last year, he launched a series of online seminars called “Race, Race-Thinking, and Identity in the Middle Ages and Medieval Studies,” which focus on how critical race theory contributes to the study of the medieval period. He “breathes new life into a field that is often thought of as stuffy and Eurocentric,” said Bailey.

A professor at Princeton since 2008, Reimitz earned his undergraduate degree and Ph.D. at the University of Vienna.

His scholarship focuses on concepts of ethnicity and the politics of identity in the early Middle Ages.

In course evaluations, students call him “engaging, funny and a true storyteller,” “a great lecturer and such a great human being” and “the kindest professor here in Princeton.”

Read more at News at Princeton.

Photo courtesy of Helmut Reimitz.