Lectures on Augustine’s Political Thought – University of Oxford (Fall 2015)
In Fall 2015, Michael gave a series of interdisciplinary lectures on “Augustine’s Political Thought” to undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Oxford. On anonymous evaluations of how well the lectures were taught, 16 of 17 students gave Michael the highest possible rating (“Very Well”), while the remaining student assigned the second highest rating (“Well”). Combined, his average rating was 3.94 of 4.0.
Selected comments from anonymous student evaluations:
“Michael Lamb’s lecture series on Augustine’s Political Thought was engaging and deeply thought provoking. Michael brought a potentially dusty topic to life with his knowledge of the subject and delivery style. It was far and away the best series of lectures I’ve experienced in my time at Oxford.”
“Out of all of the lectures that I have attended at Oxford, Dr. Lamb was the most engaging and devoted teacher that I have come across. The time and energy that he invested in the course was evident from the outset, as he would play introductory musical pieces that somehow tied into the lecture. Further, I thought that he did he a fantastic job of providing lessons that appealed to students with extensive background in Augustine to students with no background in Augustine.”
“An excellent series of lectures integrating Augustine’s theological and political ideas in engagement with the contemporary reception of his thought. The lecturer showed a clear depth in his knowledge of both Augustine and contemporary political theory. Pedagogically the lectures were well delivered, including a good amount of time for questions and discussion.”
“Michael Lamb was great – academically obviously very thorough, but he’s also clearly motivated by using his work for good, and it comes though.”
“Excellent – articulate, well-paced, interesting, detailed and enriching. Very thoughtful lecture, and considerate respondent to questions.”
“Dr. Lamb was very welcoming and engaging and created an atmosphere where students felt welcome to ask questions. The material was both challenging and very clear and interesting. He clearly put time, energy and effort into his presentations and made it an engagement instead of just reading a paper–thus more engaging than many Oxford lectures tend to be.”
“An excellent series of lectures. More lectures by young scholars of similar calibre would be a great addition to the theology lecture programme.”
“The lecturer seemed very well prepared, gifted, and organised for his theme – and very open and helpful with responding to questions.”
“Wonderful, very interesting and thought-provoking lectures that were also relaxed, which enhanced the enjoyment I gained from attending them.”
“Absolutely fantastic lecture series.”
Ethics and Public Policy – Princeton University (Fall 2012, 2013)
In Fall 2012 and Fall 2013, Michael served as head preceptor and teaching assistant for Prof. Stephen Macedo’s course on “Ethics and Public Policy.” Following the course, the Princeton University Registrar administered anonymous course evaluations asking students to provide general feedback and assess the quality of Michael’s teaching on a 5-point scale (1=Poor, 2=Fair, 3=Good, 4=Very Good, 5=Excellent).
In Fall 2012, 20 of 22 students completing evaluations gave him the highest possible rating of “Excellent,” giving him an average rating was 4.91 of 5.0, nearly a point higher than the Princeton University average of 3.92.
In Fall 2013, 19 of 22 students assigned Michael the highest rating of “Excellent,” generating an average rating of 4.73 of 5.0, which was higher than the Princeton University average of 3.95 and the Department of Politics average of 3.85 that semester. Over both semesters, his combined average was 4.82 of 5.0.
For excellence in teaching, Michael received the George Kateb Teaching Award for Best Preceptor in Princeton’s Department of Politics.
Selected comments from anonymous student evaluations:
“The best preceptor I have had.”
“Michael Lamb is one of the best educators that I have had the opportunity to encounter at Princeton. He was a thoughtful, engaged preceptor, and I sincerely appreciated the care with which he approached structuring our precept and grading our assignments. Our precepts were balanced and focused, and Michael gave each of us an opportunity to share our opinions. He also encouraged us to explore our own convictions in our papers, and I deeply appreciated the care with which he graded our papers – it was inspiring and encouraging to read such thorough suggestions about how I might improve my writing and my thought processes.”
“Michael is the best preceptor I’ve ever had. Precepts were always so engaging, and Michael did an excellent job of motivating everyone to speak and contribute to a real, engaging discussion. Michael was so available, and willing to help wherever he could. He was incredibly caring and committed to helping us learn the material. Should be awarded some kind of precept prize.”
“Mr. Lamb is undoubtedly the best preceptor I have had for any of my courses at Princeton. He is 100% engaged and as a result, I looked forward to a lively debate every week. Moreover, Mr. Lamb was always willing to help students and learn about their other interests beyond the realm of WWS 370.”
“Michael was the best preceptor I ever had. He explained everything clearly, engaged us in great class debates, and constantly showed how much he cared about our success in the course. He gave detailed feedback on all our papers and was happy to meet with us after class.”
“Very engaging preceptor, friendly, enthusiastic, fair, approachable, encouraging, and gave very good feedback on papers.”
“FANTASTIC. Michael is one of the best teachers I’ve had so far at Princeton.”
“Amazing amazing amazing. Michael is one of the best preceptors I have had at this school and one of the nicest people I have met at this school. Absolutely a highlight of this course for me.”
“Michael is an excellent instructor. He’s very good at understanding what a student is driving at even if that student is not being very clear, and his teaching ability is outstanding. He leads discussion/debate well, and was good at encouraging universal participation.”
“Michael was extremely helpful as a preceptor. I missed several classes in a row for athletic competitions, and he was completely understanding. Michael helped me to catch up and added extra office hours. He helped me to figure out the structure of philosophy papers, which as a freshman I had never written before. Precept debates were also very helpful to sort through the copious material.”
“Awesome preceptor. Really concerned with engaging students with the material, as well as making sure they understand author’s core arguments and use them to determine and support our own positions. Was extremely open to helping students when needed.”
“Michael’s the best! He may be my favorite preceptor ever at Princeton, and I have had some great preceptors before. He did a fantastic job of distilling some complicated ethical debates into accessible topics and was always incredibly friendly and understanding.”
“Michael Lamb was one of the best preceptors I’ve ever had. He was so devoted to the class, and I learned the most in this class through our preceptor. His responses to our essays were very detailed and I could tell he really cared about our intellectual development.”
“I loved the precepts, and thought Michael Lamb was fantastic.”