The University of Texas System Board of Regents awarded a total of $1 million to 39 outstanding faculty members from each of UT’s six health institutions last week in what is one of the nation’s largest monetary teaching recognition programs in higher education.
Six Medical School faculty members were among the prestigious winners: Dr. Samer Fakhri, associate professor of otorhinolaryngology; Dr. Steven Norris, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and holder of the Robert Greer Professorship of Biomedical Sciences; Dr. Philip Orlander, assistant dean for educational programs; Dr. Bela Patel, assistant dean of healthcare quality; Dr. Gary Rosenfeld, assistant dean for educational programs; and Dr. Margaret Uthman, associate dean for educational programs.
The Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards (ROTA) was established in 2008 for academic institutions and in 2012 for health institutions.
Since the program began, the Board of Regents has distributed $12 million in cash awards to faculty members who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and dedication to innovation.
Each faculty honoree receives an unrestricted check for $25,000. Current and past honorees are showcased on the UT System’s ROTA website.
“While all of our faculty are deserving of awards for their passion and dedication to our educational mission, we applaud these Medical School faculty who exemplify teaching excellence. We are proud of their recognition by the UT System Board of Regents,” Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo said.
Another 65 faculty members from UT’s nine academic institutions will be honored in August, bringing the Regents’ 2013 financial commitment for honoring outstanding teachers to $2.6 million.
“These are world-class educators who are critical to the success of UT health institutions and
who are critical to the ultimate success of their students. And the students they mentor and teach will become this state’s future outstanding health-care providers,” Regents Chairman Gene Powell said. “The UT Board has always been dedicated to cutting-edge research, but these awards demonstrate the Board’s further commitment to outstanding teaching. The combination of great research and great teaching will ensure the UT System continues to be a place of intellectual exploration, educational excellence, and unparalleled opportunity.”
ROTA recipients are vetted by colleagues, students, and campus presidents before advancing to competition at the System level. Candidates from each institution then are evaluated by a panel of members of the UT Academy of Health Science Education.
In their evaluations of a candidate’s teaching performance, members of the review panel consider a range of activities and criteria, including classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development, and student learning outcomes.
Because of the depth and breadth of educators across the UT System, the awards are among the nation’s most competitive and the selection process is extremely rigorous, UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa said.
“Recognizing outstanding teaching is a major tenet of the UT System’s Framework for Advancing Excellence,” Cigarroa said. “We are deeply grateful to the Regents for creating this outstanding teaching award and for their ongoing commitment to support the very best educators in the health sciences. These outstanding teachers have an immeasurable impact on the health of our state and nation through their students who will be our future health care providers and scientists.”