Five faculty earn prestigious UT Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award

BY Gail Fagan

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley again has multiple faculty members named in The UT System Board of Regents’ 2016 Outstanding Teaching Award.

ROTA is considered one of the highest and most prestigious awards in the nation to recognize teaching excellence.

The program recognizes tenured, tenure-track and contingent faculty, including lecturers, adjuncts and instructional assistants, who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and innovative instruction.

In all, 60 faculty in the UT System’s academic and health institutions were honored this year. Following are the UTRGV recipients.

· Art Brownlow, D.M.A., professor of Music, School of Music, College of Fine Arts (tenured).

· Stephen W. Crown, Ph.D., professor of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science (tenured).

· Timothy Huber, Ph.D., associate professor of Mathematics, School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, College of Science (tenured).

· Alexis Racelis, Ph.D., assistant professor of Biology, Department of Biology, School for Earth, Environmental and Marine Sciences, College of Science (tenure track).

· Christine Mathews, Ph.D., Biology lecturer, Department of Biology, College of Science.

“These awards testify to the quality of our faculty and their commitment to excellence in serving our students as teachers, mentors and scholars. They are all truly dedicated to ensuring the success of our students and improving the quality of life for all of the Rio Grande Valley community,” said Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “We salute them and the Board of Regents in acknowledging their accomplishments in such a generous way.”

This is the first group of Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards presented to UTRGV faculty since legacy institutions UT Pan American and University of Texas at Brownsville combined resources in September 2015 to become UTRGV. Since 2008 when the award was initiated, faculty at UTRGV’s legacy institutions and now at UTRGV have garnered 58 ROTA awards.

“UT educators provide invaluable mentorship and deliver high-quality instruction and innovation while enhancing the minds of the nation’s next leaders. Their deep commitment to outstanding education ensures student success across the System,” Chairman Paul L. Foster said. “The Board of Regents is honored to recognize our dedicated faculty members through the ROTA program.”

Award recipients are rigorously evaluated by students, peer faculty and external reviewers on a range of activities and criteria regarding their teaching performance, including classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes.

Each awardee receives $25,000 and will be honored at a ceremony Aug. 24 in Austin. More than $16 million has been awarded to deserving faculty members since the program began.