Nine UTSA faculty are among 72 UT System educators honored for teaching

award winners

UTSA winners of 2010 UT System Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards: (top row from left) Diane Abdo, Sazzad Bin-Shafique and Thomas Cannon; (middle row) Kolleen Guy, Maria Kaylor and Alycia Maurer; and (bottom row) Mary McNaughton-Cassill, John Morris and Richard Utecht

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(Aug. 12, 2010)--Seventy-two faculty members from institutions within the University of Texas System were recognized Wednesday, Aug. 11 by the Board of Regents for outstanding teaching and will share $2 million in awards. The educators were honored as the 2010 UT System Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards winners during a ceremony on the UT Austin campus.

UTSA award recipients include:

  • Diane Abdo, lecturer III, Department of English, Writing Program
  • Sazzad Bin-Shafique, assistant professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Thomas Cannon, senior lecturer, Department of Marketing
  • Kolleen Guy, associate professor, Department of History
  • Maria Kaylor, assistant professor, Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching
  • Alycia Maurer, senior lecturer and area coordinator, Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching
  • Mary McNaughton-Cassill, associate professor, Department of Psychology
  • John Morris, associate professor, Department of Political Science and Geography
  • Richard Utecht, associate professor, Department of Marketing

"On behalf of myself, Provost John Frederick and the entire UTSA community, I want to extend my hearty congratulations to these nine faculty members," said UTSA President Ricardo Romo. "We are so pleased to see their accomplishments in the classroom are being recognized and celebrated, and we thank them for the dedication they show to our students every day."

View the complete list of names and the institutions at which they teach at the UT System Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards website.

The awards, which range from $15,000 to $30,000, are given to faculty members who demonstrate extraordinary classroom performance and innovation at the undergraduate level. The event marked the program's second year. "These awards show that the Board of Regents and the UT System are focused on rewarding excellence in the classroom -- for it is there that our institutions provide the most critical facet of the university experience: the education of our students," said Regents' Chairman Colleen McHugh.

Award nominees must demonstrate a clear commitment to teaching and a sustained ability to deliver excellence to the undergraduate learning experience. In the competition for the awards, faculty candidates were subjected to rigorous examination of their teaching performance over three years by campus and external examiners.

Evaluations by students, peer faculty and external reviewers considered a range of activities and criteria including classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes. A teaching portfolio was required to demonstrate pedagogical innovation, continuous improvement of course materials, overall teacher training experience, and a statement of teaching philosophy and objectives.

"We have a clear duty to provide an exceptional education to our students. These awards not only further that goal, they help advance a culture of excellence that translates to better pedagogy and research, and ultimately to a stronger and more vibrant economy for this great state," said UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa.

Among those honored this year were 38 tenured faculty members, who each received $30,000 awards. Seventeen tenure-track faculty each received $25,000 awards and another 17 contingent faculty each received $15,000 awards. Besides the cash awards, winners also received a bronze medallion and a certificate commemorating the achievement.

"We believe in rewarding excellence, but we also believe in setting rigorous standards in our teaching awards. Therefore, we know these educators incorporate the very best teaching methods and that they impart cutting-edge concepts and information based on scholarship and research," said David Prior, UT System executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

The awards program was established by the Board of Regents in August 2008 as the latest in a series of UT System-sponsored activities aimed at fostering innovative approaches to teaching, research and commercialization endeavors at all 15 UT System institutions. In 2004, the system launched the Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention (STARs) program, which created a multimillion-dollar fund to recruit and retain top-flight researchers to UT institutions. Researchers recruited and/or retained under the program have generated more than $345 million in sponsored research at UT institutions.

In 2005, the Chancellor's Health Fellows program was established to enhance faculty collaborations and achievements, and other communications projects among the health and academic campuses. That year, the Innovations in Health Science Education program was created to recognize innovation and achievement in undergraduate or graduate health science education. The top prize for that program is $7,500.

In 2007, the UT System initiated the $2 million Texas Ignition Fund (TIF), which recognizes extraordinary research discovery. TIF grants of up to $50,000 are used to help move inventions from the laboratory to the commercial marketplace. Also in 2007, the UT System established the annual Chancellor's Innovations in Education Awards -- $5,000 prizes that recognize faculty who demonstrate teaching excellence -- and the Chancellor's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Awards, which reward outstanding individual and collaborative accomplishments in research and innovation. Prizes in that category can reach $15,000.

For more information, contact Anthony P. de Bruyn or Matt Flores at 512-499-4363.

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The University of Texas System is one of the nation's largest higher education systems with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $11.9 billion (FY 2010) including $2.5 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 202,000 in the 2009 academic year.

The system confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's health-care professionals annually. With more than 84,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.