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Pope Center Honors Professors at Duke, UNC-G, UNC-CH with Spirit of Inquiry Awards

Peter Feaver, David Holian, and Gidi Shemer are recognized for outstanding teaching

By Carolyn Zahnow


December 06, 2013




Carolyn Zahnow

Ph: 919.828.1400


Pope Center Honors Professors at Duke, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Chapel Hill with Spirit of Inquiry Awards

Peter Feaver, David Holian, and Gidi Shemer are recognized for outstanding teaching

RALEIGH, December 6, 2013 – The John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy has recognized three North Carolina professors for excellence in teaching. The center’s Spirit of Inquiry awards were given at a December 4, 2013, at a dinner at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, NC.


For six years, the Pope Center has honored three outstanding college-level instructors who have been nominated by their students and selected by a distinguished panel of judges. The Spirit of Inquiry project is supported by the Broyhill Family Foundation. Edgar Broyhill, a trustee of the foundation, presented the awards at the December 4 dinner.


The 2013 recipients were:

  • Peter Feaver, Ph.D., Duke University, for his course “American Foreign Policy”
    • Nominated by Duke University graduate Abraham Lee
  • David Holian, Ph.D., UNC-Greensboro, for “The U.S. Congress”
    • Nominated by Stephen Kent, UNC-G senior
  • Gidi Shemer, Ph.D., UNC-Chapel Hill, for “Human Anatomy and Physiology”
    • Nominated by UNC-Chapel Hill graduate Joey Patterson

A special recognition award was given to Kelly H. Markson, Ph.D., an economics instructor at Wake Tech Community College, for excellence in teaching economics. Markson has worked with the Pope Center to develop an introductory economics course that emphasizes principles, not mathematics.

In announcing the awards, Jane S. Shaw, president of the Pope Center, asked the audience, “What would we have done without instructors who inspired us and opened up new worlds of understanding and accomplishment?”


Bios for Award Recipients:

Peter D. Feaver is a professor of political science and public policy at Duke University. He is director of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies (TISS) and also director of the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy (AGS). From 2005 to 2007, Feaver served as Special Advisor for Strategic Planning and Institutional Reform on the National Security Council Staff at the White House where his responsibilities included the national security strategy. He received his undergraduate degree from Lehigh University and his master’s and Ph.D. from Harvard. He was previously a second-place winner of the Spirit of Inquiry Award.

David B. Holian is an associate professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He teaches courses on American political institutions, including  Congress, the American presidency, and the mass media. His research has appeared in a variety of journals and he received his Ph.D. from Indiana University.

Gidi Shemer is a lecturer-advisor in the Biology Department at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he teaches 800 students a year, advises biology majors and coordinates undergradaute research in biology. Born in Israel, he received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Tel Aviv University and his master’s degree and Ph.D. in biology from The Technion in Israel. In 2005 he moved to UNC-Chapel Hill as a post-doc fellow and a visiting lecturer. His teaching experience and interactions with undergraduate students helped him decide to shift his career emphasis from research to lecturing and advising. Shemer has been the Biology Department’s advisor since 2009.

Kelly Markson has been a full-time economics instructor at Wake Technical Community College since 2005. A graduate of Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, she received her Ph.D. in economics from N.C. State University in 1999. She was recently selected to be the faculty representative for Wake Tech at a meeting of the Performance Based Funding Institute sponsored by the William and Melinda Gates Foundation.


The John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy is a nonprofit institute dedicated to improving higher education in North Carolina and throughout the country. For more information about the Pope Center, please visit








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