Association awards faculty members

Vidushi Shrimali

Seven UT faculty members were named for a $5,000 award for teaching excellence.

Established in the fall of 1980, the President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award honors five professors in the College of Liberal Arts and one in the College of Natural Sciences. This year, however, six liberal arts professors and one natural sciences professor were selected for the award.

One of the honorees, Steven Friesen, a religious studies professor, said all teachers have their own individual style when it comes to running their classrooms.

“There is no right way to do it,” Friesen said. “Everyone finds a way that works with their personality and goals.”

He sets both holistic goals for his classes and individual goals for students according to “a vision of where we would like students to get to,” he said.

American studies associate professor Elizabeth Engelhardt is currently teaching a small undergraduate studies discussion course called “Invention of Southern Food.” She said she focuses on engaging her students in the discussion aspect of her class.

“I focus on making the classroom where students have a voice, but more so where we are pushing ourselves to be more intellectual together, rather than individually,” she said.

Each of the students in associate history professor Charters Wynn’s class is supposed to bring three questions to every class based on the scheduled readings. He picks the most engaging and provocative questions and uses them in discussion, he said.

“I usually find if students come to class ready, they are willing to participate,” Wynn said.

Wynn said he constantly tries to engage his students through hands-on activities. He also serves as the director of the history department’s Normandy Scholar Program on World War II, which takes about 20 students to World War II sites around Europe in May after they have studied the war in the spring semester.

The other professors are Ami Pedahzur, a government professor; Kirsten Belgum, a German associate professor; Carol Nicols, the director of the Fashion Design Program; and Domino Perez, an English associate professor