Department of English

James Cox named recipient of a University of Texas System Board of Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award

Mon, August 24, 2009

The Department of English congratulates Assistant Professor James Cox, recipient of a Board of Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award for tenure-track faculty which recognizes those faculty who deliver the highest quality of undergraduate instruction, demonstrate their commitment to teaching, and have a history and promising future of sustained excellence with undergraduate teaching.

The awards are a symbol of the importance they place on the provision of teaching and learning of the highest order, in recognition of those who serve our students in an exemplary manner and as an incentive for others who aspire to such service.  James Cox has previously been awarded the W. O. S. Sutherland Award for Teaching Excellence in Sophomore Literature in 2006, and he carries on his tradition of excellence in teaching with this newest honor.  His primary research interests are twentieth and twenty-first century Native American literature, especially novels; Native American literary theory; twentieth and twenty-first century ethnic American literatures, including Chicana/o literature and literature of immigration; and the history of Native Americans in American literature and popular culture. He has published articles on Sherman Alexie, Thomas King, and Gertrude Bonnin (Zitkala-Sa) and an article on Susana Rowson, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, and Lydia Maria Child. His book Muting White Noise: Native American and European American Novel Traditions was published in 2006 by the University of Oklahoma Press as #51 in Gerald Vizenor's American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series.

English Department Chair Elizabeth Cullingford says of him, "Cox has taught difficult and controversial texts to large numbers of undergraduates at every level of skill and maturity while maintaining the sort of scholarly profile that eventually got him on to the tenure track. He has been a resounding success with almost all of his students, combining intellectual rigor with kindness and respect for their opinions. 'When I speak to other English majors,' writes one aficionado, 'there is always a general consensus that if someone has been fortunate enough to take one of Dr. Cox’s classes, he is their favorite professor.'" 

Thirty-five faculty members, including six College of Liberal Arts professors from The University of Texas at Austin, among 73 inaugural recipients of the University of Texas System Board of Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards, will share $2 million in awards.

The awards, which range from $15,000 to $30,000 depending on level of experience, are believed to be among the highest in the country for rewarding outstanding undergraduate faculty performance and innovation.  Winners in the contingent faculty category will be awarded $15,000 each, while those in the tenure-track category will receive $25,000 each. Tenured faculty awardees will receive $30,000 each.

"These awards demonstrate our commitment to maintaining excellence in our classrooms and send a clear message to our campus communities that we value exceptional performance and innovation," said Regents' Chairman James R. Huffines.

The awards program was established in August 2008 as the latest in a series of University of Texas System initiatives aimed at fostering innovative approaches to teaching, research and commercialization endeavors at all 15 University of Texas System institutions.

"Clearly, we have a mandate to provide an exceptional education for our students, but our universities also play a critical role in ensuring the economic vitality of Texas. We believe these efforts will foster success in the areas of pedagogy and research, and that they will significantly enhance the educational experience for our students and sharpen the competitive edge of our science and technology activities," said Francisco G. Cigarroa, chancellor of the University of Texas System.

At the time, Regents authorized $15 million, $10 million of which was to be used for the teaching awards ($5 million at The University of Texas at Austin and $5 million at the eight other System institutions); and the remaining $5 million to create a research commercialization and technology transfer center at The University of Texas at Austin.

The teaching awards programs and the commercialization center will each distribute $1 million in awards over five years, beginning this year.


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