(Aug. 25, 2011)--In recognition of their classroom excellence, 72 educators from institutions within the University of Texas System will share $1.8 million in awards and will be honored during a special ceremony this week. Among the awardees are seven UTSA faculty members.
The educators were honored as the 2011 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award winners at an Aug. 24 ceremony on the UT Austin campus. The cash awards, which range from $15,000 to $30,000 -- and believed to be among the nation's highest for higher education faculty -- are given to faculty members at UT System academic institutions who demonstrate extraordinary classroom performance and innovation at the undergraduate level. The event marks the program's third year.
UTSA award recipients include the following faculty members:
"Provost John Frederick and I are so thrilled to once again have a number of our outstanding faculty honored with this prestigious award," said UTSA President Ricardo Romo. "In the program's three years, a total of 18 UTSA faculty members have been recognized; that's a true testament to the superior quality of classroom instruction our students receive at UTSA."
"Exceptional university teaching has been at the core of the services our universities provide to our students since our inception in 1883," said Regent's Chairman Gene Powell. "When most of us reflect back on our college experience, one or more great educators who left an indelible mark on our lives come to mind. I think of my mentor, teacher and friend, Dr. John Bickley, in front of a class at UT Austin. Dr. Bickley would be so proud that in 2011 the regents are recognizing and rewarding great teaching."
"Today, the Board of Regents considers it a true honor and privilege to recognize another class of great educators from across the University of Texas System with not only a ceremonial event but with much deserved financial rewards. The board is committed to continuing the process of seeking out, hiring and rewarding great teachers and the board looks forward to holding these ceremonies for many years to come," Powell added.
Award nominees must demonstrate a clear commitment to teaching and a sustained ability to deliver excellence to the undergraduate learning experience. Candidates' teaching performance over three years was rigorously examined by campus and external judges.
"It is our system's responsibility to provide an exceptional education to our students, and we believe this award program not only furthers that goal, but helps promote a culture of excellence that produces better teaching, better learning and, ultimately, better prepared graduates to enter our work force," said UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, M.D. "These awards have proved to be so successful in promoting outstanding teaching that we hope to expand the program to our health institutions as well."
Additionally, students, peer faculty and external reviewers considered a range of activities and criteria including classroom expertise, quality of curriculum, 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.
Among those that will be honored this year are 38 tenured faculty members, who each received $30,000 awards. Seventeen tenure-track faculty each will receive $25,000 awards, and another 17 contingent faculty each are to receive $15,000 awards. Besides the cash awards, winners also will receive a bronze medallion and a certificate commemorating the achievement.
The awards program -- established by the Board of Regents in August 2008 -- has recognized 217 educators spanning more than 100 disciplines. The awards are 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 same 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 established the annual Chancellor's Innovations in Education Awards -- $5,000 prizes which 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.
About the University of Texas System
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 $12.8 billion (FY 2011) including $2.3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources.
Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 211,000 in the 2010 academic year. The UT 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 68,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.
Robert Penn Warren said: “How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.” That is certainly true for Carmen Tafolla. An associate professor of practice with the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, Tafolla has authored more than 20 acclaimed books of poetry and prose, including "The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans." It won the Tom´s Rivera Children’s Book Award in 2009.
Tafolla is a San Antonio native who grew up on the West Side. Attending a private high school, she realized that the literature did not positively portray her community or the people who lived there. She determined to change that in her writing. In published works for both adults and children — more than 200 anthologies, magazines, journals, textbooks and readers in four languages — Tafolla reflects on the rich Mexican-American culture of San Antonio in which she grew up.
Did you know? Tafolla was San Antonio's first Poet Laureate, from 2012 to 2014, and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Texas.
Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.
This annual symposium is an opportunity to discuss Texas higher education issues and trends with Texas higher education scholars, state and local government officials, students, and campus and local community members.
This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.
Join President Ricardo Romo, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band, students, faculty and staff to light the monument at the Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight.
John Peace Boulevard Entrance, Main Campus
Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Bill Miller Plaza for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus
Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Convocation Center East Lawn, Main Campus
The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.
Victor Cyrus, Jr will see his first book of poetry published this fall
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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