Totten Receives Distinguished Alumni Award from Teachers College, Columbia University

Samuel Totten is congratulated by Susan Furhman, left, president of Teachers College, Columbia ?University, and Margaret Smith Crocco, professor of social studies at Teachers College, during ?an alumni award presentation in April in New York. Photo courtesy of Teachers College
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Samuel Totten is congratulated by Susan Furhman, left, president of Teachers College, Columbia ?University, and Margaret Smith Crocco, professor of social studies at Teachers College, during ?an alumni award presentation in April in New York. Photo courtesy of Teachers College

Samuel Totten's contributions in the "most painful but essential of fields," that of genocide studies, earned him the Teachers College Distinguished Alumni Award from Columbia University.

Margaret Smith Crocco, professor of social studies at Teachers College, used the phrase during the award presentation in New York in April when honoring the University of Arkansas professor of curriculum and instruction.

Totten earned Doctor of Education and Master of Education degrees in curriculum and teaching from Teachers College in 1985 and 1982, respectively. He received the award for his extraordinary contributions as a teacher, researcher and theorist, Crocco said.

In her remarks, Crocco praised Totten for his efforts to raise global awareness of genocide and its horrors. He helped to create the field of study, she said, widening the understanding of genocide.

"Few have done more than you to spark that awareness," Crocco said. "For 30 years, you have documented genocide, compiling first-hand accounts of survivors, investigators and many others."

A Fulbright scholar who established a genocide studies master's program at the National University of Rwanda in 2008, Totten joined the faculty of the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas in 1987. A native of California, he earned another master's degree in English from California State University in Sacramento and a bachelor's degree in English from California State University in Long Beach.

Totten served as an investigator with the U.S. State Department's atrocities documentation project, interviewing refugees in Darfur, and later published The Darfur Genocide: Investigating Atrocities in the Sudan (Routledge, 2006). He co-founded and edited Genocide Studies and Prevention, the journal of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, and served on the Council of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem. His most recent book is An Oral and Documentary History of the Darfur Genocide (Praeger Security International, 2010).

From his work in Rwanda, Totten published We Cannot Forget: Interviews with Survivors of the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda (Rutgers University Press, 2011).

Crocco also talked about Totten's teaching.

"You believe that students become passionate when they engage in world issues," she said. "In Teaching Social Issues in the English Classroom, you wrote that English teachers have the power to … encourage students and teachers alike to turn the silences forced upon them … into eloquent and collective calls for change."

The honor bestowed on six Columbia alumni was part of the Teachers College's Academic Festival 2011, during which Totten gave a presentation titled "The Suffering Doesn't End Once the Killing Has Stopped: The Plight of Those Who Survived the 1994 Rwandan Genocide."

Totten also won the faculty career award in the College of Education and Health Professions this year.

Contacts

Heidi Wells, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions
479-575-3138, heidisw@uark.edu

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