June 8, 2023
man standing in front of whiteboard teaching strudents
Headshot of Patrick Baliani

Franke Honors Professor of Practice Patrick Baliani has been awarded the Gerald J. Swanson Prize for Teaching Excellence. This award was created through a gift from the Thomas R. Brown Foundation in honor of Gerald J. Swanson, University of Arizona Professor Emeritus, and is given to recognize distinction in undergraduate teaching.

Baliani joined the W.A Franke Honors College faculty in 2012 after teaching in the College of Humanities English Department, where he was Course Director of the Honors Composition sequence and a Teaching Advisor to graduate students.

Currently, Baliani, whose course material has been described as mind-opening, diverse, and creatively driven, teaches several interdisciplinary courses at the Franke Honors College. His courses HNRS 210-1: Art and Anatomies and HNRS 208H-1: Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing: Race, Class, and the American Stage are Franke Honors General Education courses that are being offered to students this coming fall. He will also be teaching a 1-unit seminar on Afro Futurist Fiction.

"Any class with Professor Baliani is a blast! He has an extraordinarily creative mind and really opened our eyes to the artistic aspect of writing. We discussed how mental illness impacts art and writing and really explored themes I had never learned about before," said Vaisha Nair, a recent Franke Honors graduate who had taken an honors course with Baliani during her second year. 

His students' growth and creative work are Baliani's biggest point of pride in his teaching. This last year, he had the opportunity to advise one of his students, Rachel Newcomb, throughout the creation of her Honors Thesis, which culminated in an art installation at the University of Arizona Poetry Center.

"Getting to work with Rachel and see her vision come to life for her thesis was truly incredible. She was very thoughtful and involved," said Baliani, "it was one of the highlights of my semester teaching."

Baliani's teaching awards span beyond the Gerald J. Swanson Prize for Teaching Excellence and include the University of Arizona Foundation Leicester and Kathryn Sherrill Creative Teaching Award, the Honors College Five Star Faculty Award, the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Academic Preparation for Excellence in Teaching (APEX) Award. He has twice received the Humanities Seminars Superior Teaching Award.

He has also worked as a playwright throughout his teaching career. His original plays have been performed in cities throughout the United States, including New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, Prescott, and Tucson. He was awarded the National Repertory Theatre Foundation National Play Award, the Arizona Theatre Company New Play Award, and has received fellowships and grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Tucson-Pima Arts Council, and other arts organizations.

Take a Class with Professor Baliani!

General Education Franke Honors Courses | 3 units (unless otherwise noted)

renaissance artwork

HNRS 210

Art and Anatomy


HNRS 208H-001

Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing: Race, Class, Gender on the American Stage

Franke Honors Seminars | 1 unit (unless otherwise noted)

Black women reading a novel

HNRS 195J-003

Afro Futurist Fiction