Public Release:  9 UT Arlington educators honored for teaching excellence

University of Texas at Arlington

Nine faculty members from The University of Texas at Arlington are among 63 educators recognized this year by The University of Texas System Board of Regents for excellence in the classroom.

The honors come with a $25,000 cash award and recognize faculty members at UT System academic institutions who demonstrate extraordinary classroom performance and innovation at the undergraduate level. The professors were recognized Aug. 21 during a ceremony in Austin.

UT Arlington President Vistasp M. Karbhari said the awards underscore the depth and wealth of talent and commitment to excellence within the University's faculty.

"A great University has great teachers, and we are proud to have some of the very best," Karbhari said. "Our faculty members serve one of the nation's most diverse student bodies, and they are committed to ensuring student success not just for those who enter UT Arlington at the top of their high school class, but rather for all who are committed to a better tomorrow for themselves and their families."

The UT Arlington honorees are:

  • Josephine Caldwell-Ryan, adjunct assistant professor of sociology and anthropology

  • Rebecca Deen, chair and associate professor of political science

  • Susanna Khavul, associate professor of management

  • Frank Lewis, professor of electrical engineering and the Moncrief-O'Donnell Endowed Chair, UT Arlington Research Institute

  • Beth Mancini, professor of nursing and associate dean for undergraduate studies for the College of Nursing

  • Dan Popa, associate professor of electrical engineering

  • Peggy Semingson, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction

  • Seiichiro Tanizaki, lecturer, chemistry and biochemistry

  • Yvette Weatherton, senior lecturer, civil engineering

The awards are in their fifth year. Honorees were selected based on recommendations from department chairs, deans and committees. A complete list of winners and their institutions is available on the UT System website.

"Our faculty members are the heart and soul of our institutions, and they are the most critical factor in student success," said Gene Powell, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents. "The Board created the awards program because of our respect and appreciation for these outstanding teachers, and because we want to make sure our institutions continue to be places of educational excellence."

Award nominees must demonstrate a clear commitment to teaching and a sustained ability to deliver excellence to the undergraduate learning experience. Campus and external judges rigorously examined the candidates' teaching performance over three years.

"We are deeply grateful to the Regents for their ongoing commitment to honor our very best and most dedicated faculty," said UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. "These awards recognize the immeasurable impact teachers have on our students, who will shape the future of our communities across Texas and the nation."

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.

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About The University of Texas at Arlington:

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of about 33,800 students and more than 2,200 faculty members in the heart of North Texas. It is the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. Visit http://www.uta.edu to learn more.

About The University of Texas System:

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities and six health science centers. Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 215,000 in the 2011 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. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $13.1 billion (FY 2012) including $2.3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With roughly 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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