John Freeman Faculty Teaching Award – Phillip B. Carpenter, PhD

By Roman Petrowski, Office of Communications

Updated Carpenter Teaching Excellence Award

Phillip B. Carpenter, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, is the 2020 recipient of the John H. Freeman Award for Faculty Teaching.

Chosen by the senior class, the John H. Freeman Award recognizes the McGovern Medical School’s outstanding basic science faculty member. Recipients may not win the award in consecutive years.

“This award means a lot to me, because it is given by the students,” Carpenter said. “It is great to be appreciated by them. There are a lot of really good teachers, and to be considered one of them by the students is an honor. It’s why I like to come to work every day.”

Carpenter describes himself as a big proponent of active teaching, noting that the students now refer to passive lectures as, “Death by PowerPoint.”

“Medical school is a lot different today than when I started at McGovern many moons ago,” Carpenter said. “Superior technology is available, and students consume information differently than when I was coming up. I basically gave up on lecturing, as there are superior ways to teach.”

With help from colleagues in the Office of Educational Programs, Carpenter has developed new, active learning sessions that are both instructive and fun for students. The development of new lectures also led to him publishing a paper in PubMed titled “Improved Performance in and Preference for Using Think-Pair=Share in a Flipped Classroom.”

The change in Carpenter’s education style begin in 2013 when he joined the Texas TIME Committee, where he said he was able to interact with colleagues throughout the UT System to gain new ideas on education.

Carpenter joined the McGovern Medical School faculty as an assistant professor in 1998 before becoming an associate professor in 2005. He received his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1994 before completing a postdoctoral research fellowship in the laboratory of William G. Dunphy in 1998.

Carpenter acknowledges Rodney Kellems, PhD, and Patricia Butler, MD, and the Office of Educational Programs as well as the late Dr. Henry Strobel who taught him, “that teaching is really a performing art. You can know more than anybody else and be a poor teacher through inadequate delivery.”

Previous winners of the John H. Freeman Award for Faculty Teaching include Han Zhang, MD, 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2008, 2006; Claire E. Hulsebosch, PhD, 2018; Chris MacKenzie, PhD, 2017, 2015; Dawnelle Schatte, MD, 2014; Joanne Oakes, MD, 2012; Elizabeth Hartwell, MD, 2007; Margaret O. Uthman, MD, 2011, 2009, 2005, 2001, 1999, 1997; Kent Heck, MD, 2004, 2002; Norman Weisbrodt, PhD, 2003; Barry Van Winkle, PhD, 2000, 1998; Marsha L. Eigenbrodt, MD, MPH, 1996; Ron C. Philo, PhD, 1995; Harley D. Sybers, MD, PhD, 1994, 1992, 1990; Frank W. Booth, MD, 1993; and Karmen L. Schmidt, PhD, 1991.