Department of English

Elizabeth Richmond-Garza awarded Board of Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award

Mon, August 24, 2009

The Department of English congratulates Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, recipient of a Board of Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award for tenured faculty.  This award 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.  

As a symbol of the importance they place on the provision of teaching and learning of the highest order, these awards recognize those who serve students in an exemplary manner and act as an incentive for others who aspire to such service.  Elizabeth Richmond-Garza’s multi-media approach to teaching has been honored by a number of teaching awards including the Chad Oliver Plan II Teaching Award, the 16th annual Friar Centennial Teaching Fellowship and the Minnie Piper Stevens Teaching fellowship. She is also the Director of the Program in Comparative Literature and chief administrative officer of the American Comparative Literature Association.  She holds degrees from U. C. Berkeley, Oxford University and Columbia University and has held both Mellon and Fulbright Fellowships.  She concentrates on Orientalism, Cleopatra, Oscar Wilde, European drama, the Gothic, and literary theory.  She is currently finishing a study of decadent culture at the end of the nineteenth century.

Richmond-Garza teaches theatre, aesthetics and the fine arts and works actively in eight foreign languages, and describes her teaching philosophy by saying, "What I teach is often unfamiliar to students. My aim is plunge them into a dynamic multimedia world where art and literature come alive. Moving to Texas in 1990 was new to me, and I know that Paris or Moscow in 1901 is new to them. If I want students to care about Oscar Wilde, they need to stroll down a virtual London street. Students of Kalidasa need to know how to make a good curry. Once we transform an ordinary room into a gateway to another world, my students become the best time travelers and learn new things about themselves as well."

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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