LPS faculty announced as 2023 distinguished teaching award winners

Pre-Health Programs' Ruth Elliott and Master of Applied Positive Psychology program’s Martin Seligman have been recognized with distinguished teaching awards.

The College of Liberal and Professional Studies is pleased to congratulate M. Ruth Elliott and Martin Seligman for being named 2023 distinguished teaching award winners.

M. Ruth Elliott has been awarded the 2023 College of Liberal and Professional Studies Award for Distinguished Teaching in Undergraduate and Post-Baccalaureate Programs. Ruth is currently a lecturer in biochemistry for the College of Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She worked as a research technician and lab manager in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Susan R. Weiss for nine years, where she also trained graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the basics of animal research and primary cell culture. She has published papers on mouse hepatitis virus and the pathogenesis and genetics of this family of viruses in the central nervous system and liver. While in the Weiss group, Ruth came to realize from the tutoring she did in mathematics and the life sciences how much she enjoyed working with students and began to consider teaching as a career. Ruth obtained her Master of Science in biotechnology from the University of Pennsylvania while working in biomedical research, and her Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Temple University in Philadelphia. She also taught nursing students at LaSalle University part time for several years before joining the Penn LPS Online faculty.

Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman has been awarded the 2023 College of Liberal and Professional Studies Award for Distinguished Teaching in Professional Graduate Programs. Dr. Seligman is the director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center and Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology in the Penn Department of Psychology. He is also director of the Penn Master of Applied Positive Psychology program (MAPP). He was president of the American Psychological Association in 1998, during which one of his presidential initiatives was the promotion of positive psychology as a field of scientific study. He is a leading authority in the fields of positive psychology, resilience, learned helplessness, depression, optimism, and pessimism. He is also a recognized authority on interventions that prevent depression, and build strengths and well-being. He has written more than 350 scholarly publications and 30 books.

Dr. Seligman's books have been translated into more than 50 languages and have been best sellers both in America and abroad. Among his better-known works are The Hope Circuit (Public Affairs, 2018), Flourish (Free Press, 2011), Authentic Happiness (Free Press, 2002), Learned Optimism (Knopf, 1991), What You Can Change & What You Can't (Knopf, 1993), The Optimistic Child (Houghton Mifflin, 1995), Helplessness (Freeman, 1975, 1993) and Abnormal Psychology (Norton, 1982, 1988, 1995, with David Rosenhan). Dr. Seligman's research and writing has been broadly supported by a number of institutions including the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Aging, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Education, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. His research on preventing depression received the MERIT Award of the National Institute of Mental Health in 1991.

For 14 years, Dr. Seligman was the director of the clinical training program of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Psychology. He was named a "Distinguished Practitioner" by the National Academies of Practice, and in 1995 received the Pennsylvania Psychological Association's award for “Distinguished Contributions to Science and Practice." He is a past president of the Division of Clinical Psychology of the American Psychological Association.

In 1996, Dr. Seligman was elected president of the American Psychological Association, by the largest vote in modern history. His primary aim as APA president was to join practice and science together so both might flourish—a goal that has dominated his own life as a psychologist. His major initiatives concerned the prevention of ethnopolitical warfare and the study of positive psychology. Since 2000 his main mission has been the promotion of the field of positive psychology.

Read more about the 2023 School of Arts and Sciences Teaching Awards >