The Reacting Consortium, which spearheads the Reacting to the Past pedagogy, has awarded its 2020 Brilliancy Prize to Terri Nelson, professor of French at California State University, San Bernardino. The Brilliancy Prize is awarded for singular “genius or creative ingenuity” in advancing the Reacting pedagogy. It includes a $1,000 honorarium.
The Reacting Consortium is an alliance of colleges, universities, and individual faculty committed to developing and publishing the Reacting to the Past series of role-playing games for higher education, and providing programs for faculty development and curricular change. Reacting to the Past consists of elaborate games, set in the past, in which students are assigned roles informed by classic texts in the history of ideas.
The jury for the Brilliancy Prize of the Reacting Consortium was tasked this year with making two awards: (1) for “a particularly ingenious or creative idea or pedagogical practice that advances reacting games,” and (2) in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, “for a similarly brilliant idea or practice, but one that specifically advances reacting games run via remote learning.” Among a number of strong nominations, both awards were given to Nelson.
Nelson received multiple nominations from the Reacting community, drawn from the 50-member colleges of the Reacting Consortium, among others. The prize committee cited the “many brilliant ideas and practices” that Nelson has brought to Reacting. “She was at the forefront of the Reacting community and technology, innovating ways to play games, and sharing her ideas with others,” the committee added.
“I’m so happy to be part of the Reacting family … to be singled out leaves me somewhat speechless,” said Nelson, who received a doctorate in French from Northwestern University and teaches in the CSUSB Department of World Languages and Literatures.
“I’ve just tried all along the way to be as generous with my materials as others have been with me,” she said. “I’ve learned so much from this wonderful group of faculty – it has made me a better teacher and an even more engaged learner. The role of Gamemaster has become one I’ve cherished because it allows me to watch the students take charge and show their talents. I never fail to be amazed, amused, and awed by what they do! And, as I tell them every term, they give me great confidence for the future because I have seen how creative they are – and how compassionate, collegial and brave. They consistently strive for consensus and negotiation, even when ideas and values clash. I sincerely hope they continue to nurture these skills and put them to work in our communities.”
Reacting to the Past is now used at more than 500 colleges and universities. The Reacting Consortium Inc., a not-for-profit corporation, is hosted by Barnard College.