College of Liberal Arts

Four Liberal Arts Faculty Receive President’s Teaching Award

Thu, Jan 26, 2017
Erika Bsumek is an associate professor of history. Photo by Kirk Weddle.
Erika Bsumek is an associate professor of history. Photo by Kirk Weddle.

Four faculty members from the College of Liberal Arts received the President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award, which recognizes great teaching of undergraduates in the core curriculum and a record of engagement with curriculum reform and educational innovation. 

Those receiving the award include Erika Bsumek, associate professor in the Department of History; Evan Carton, professor in the Department of English; Ann Repp, senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology; and Pauline Strong, professor in the Department of Anthropology.

In supporting the nominations, Dean Randy Diehl noted both the dedication and unique approaches to teaching that each brings to her or his classroom:

  • “Erika Bsumek’s success in the classroom is derived from subject matter students intrinsically find interesting, and her deftness in interweaving ideas from many disciplines and eras makes her particularly adept at engaging students... students sense from day one that this is a professor who is deeply invested in them.”
  • “Evan Carton is a wholly committed and gifted teacher who not only upholds high expectations but also shows his students how to meet and even exceed those expectations. Admired by his colleagues as inventive and inspiring in the classroom, he is also an important player in curriculum innovation for the entire university.”
  • “Ann Repp enables students to collaborate in their own educations. She seeks out the topics that are of greatest interest to the students—topics that may at first appear puzzling or hard to grasp—then engages them, reaching out particularly to those who are quiet or shy. She creates an atmosphere where students can learn from each other.”
  • “Polly Strong’s approach to teaching is a model for how we should challenge students to probe and debate issues in ways that inspire both self-reflection and societal understanding…to think critically and creatively, to express ideas cogently both orally and in writing, to read deeply and broadly, and to argue persuasively yet respectfully.”

The annual President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Awards recognize UT Austin’s educational innovators whose commitment and performance not only instruct, but also inspire. The $5,000 awards are made possible by contributions from friends of the university who are committed to the quality of UT Austin’s educational programs – a group of people known as the President’s Associates.

The honorees will be recognized at a dinner hosted by President Fenves this spring.

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