$25,000 award presented to outstanding faculty members of the UT System Wednesday evening

Van Nguyen

Eleven faculty members received recognition from the UT System as recipients of the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.

The award is given annually to outstanding UT system professors who innovate in the classroom and have demonstrated their abilities to create extraordinary learning environments.

“We have outstanding teachers and faculty at UT,” President Gregory Fenves said. “It‘s really special when we recognize the best of our faculty for the teaching that they do everyday in the classroom. I’m really honored to be there with them tonight.” 

The $25,000 prize is the highest honor the Board of Regents can award a faculty member with and is offered to those in the UT System’s eight academic and six health institutions. $25,000 is given to each professor that is awarded the ROTA.

Almost 60 UT System faculty members, including the 11 from UT-Austin, were offered the award this year. 

“This is the dinner where we’re able to recognize the extraordinary talent throughout the system,” said Paul Foster, chairman of the Board of Regents. “The problem is we just don’t give enough of them.” 

The nominated faculty members’ teaching performance were reviewed by their peers, students and external reviewers. The review panels look at the quality and innovation of the experience offered in the classroom. 

Kevin Lemoine, associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, said a panel of excellent teachers reviews the applicants at each UT institution, vetting them from their department chair to the dean and president before the application comes to the UT System.

The highest rated professors from the panel help the regents choose who to offer the award to. 

Anthony Dudo, professor at the Moody College of Communication and one of the recipients of the award, researches the intersection of the world of science, society and media. In class, Dudo emphasizes the importance of interacting with his students and getting students to work together.

“I try to keep the nature of [my] class changing quickly,” Dudo said. “It keeps the students on their toes, it helps to keep them engaged [and] it helps to keep them active. It is very important to me that students have the opportunity to learn from each other.”

Dudo is very passionate about teaching and said the culture at Moody allows for everyone to innovate and help each other on their teaching styles.

Chancellor William McRaven and the Regents ended the award ceremony by recognizing each faculty member that won the award.  

“I’d like to thank the Board of Regents for putting so much effort into this award and we go a long way to recognize the great educators that are out there,” McRaven said. “Nelson Mandela had this saying about education as the weapon that changes the world, but I would contend it’s not just education, it’s a great education.”