Center for Teaching and Learning

President’s Teaching Excellence Awards

The President’s Teaching Excellence Award committee receives hundreds of nominations every year and considers a broad spectrum of eligible candidates throughout the University. The award comes with a stipend and recipients were presented with medallions at the annual Honors Convocation ceremony in May. Read the full news article here.

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Undergraduate Instruction for tenure-system (those with tenure or those eligible for tenure) faculty members: this award recognizes sustained excellence in undergraduate instruction, including innovation in approaches to teaching and the overall impact on student learning. To be eligible, faculty members must have taught on the UTD campus for a minimum of 5 years and have not won this award in the previous 10 years. Winners of the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award (ROTA) in the previous ten years are not eligible.

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Undergraduate Instruction for non-tenure-system faculty members: this award recognizes sustained excellence in undergraduate instruction, including innovation in approaches to teaching and the overall impact on student learning. To be eligible, faculty members must have taught on the UTD campus for a minimum of 3 years and have not won this award in the previous 10 years. Winners of the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award (ROTA) in the previous ten years are not eligible.

President’s Teaching Excellence Award for Teaching Assistants: this award recognizes exceptional instructional performance by a graduate teaching assistant. To be eligible, graduate students must have served as a teaching assistant for a minimum of 2 semesters on the UTD campus.

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Graduate/Professional Instruction: this award recognizes sustained excellence in graduate or professional program instruction, including innovation in approaches to teaching and the overall impact on student learning. To be eligible, faculty members must have taught on the UTD campus for a minimum of 5 years (including at least one graduate or professional course for four semesters) and have not won this award in the previous 10 years

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Online/Blended Instruction: this award recognizes excellence in the design and delivery of courses in online or blended formats, including innovation in course development, effective use of technology and media, and overall positive impact on student learning. To be eligible, faculty members must have taught at least 3 courses in an online (course delivered 85-100% online) or blended (course delivered 50-84% online) format in the last 3 years and have not won this award in the previous 10 years.

President’s Teaching Excellence Awards of 2020

Dr. Pamela Gossin

Dr. Pamela Gossin

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Undergraduate Instruction (tenure-track)

Dr. Pamela Gossin is a professor of history of science and literary studies and the founder and Director of UT Dallas’ program in Medical and Scientific Humanities (MaSH).  Dr Gossin studies the interdisciplinary interrelations of literature, history and science, especially astronomy and cosmology, from the ancient world, through the Scientific Revolution to the present. She holds national office as the Delegate for Science and Literature in the Modern Language Association and holds or has held various executive committee appointments in the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts and the History of Science Society.  She also serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of  Mechademia, the worlds’ first academic journal devoted to the study of anime and manga (U Minnesota).

 

Semiramis Amirpour

Semiramis Amirpour

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Undergraduate Instruction (non-tenure-track)

Semiramis Amirpour is a senior lecturer of Marketing and Professional Sales at the Naveen Jindal School of Management. She is a recipient of UT Dallas President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Undergraduate Instruction, and a recipient of the UT Dallas JSOM Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award. She was also named as “The Coach of Champions” at the International Collegiate Sales Competition after the UT Dallas team won the Collegiate World Cup of Sales in 2019.

 

Kim Knight

Dr. Kim Knight

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Graduate/Professional Instruction

Dr. Kim Knight is the associate dean of graduate studies and an associate professor of arts, technology, and emerging communication. Dr. Knight is a digital media scholar whose research encompasses the fields of media, literary, cultural, and film studies, exploring the ways digital culture affects negotiations of power and the formation of identity. Relationships between media, technologies, and subjects, how they interact in “real life” and in the manner in which cultural texts represent them, are of special interest to her. Dr. Knight teaches courses in digital media theory, the shift from analog to digital textuality, viral media, wearable technology, and race, class, gender, and sexuality in digital environments, utilizing both theory and practice methodologies.

 

Karen Baynham

Karen Baynham

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Online/Blended Instruction

Karen Baynham is a Senior Lecturer in Communication and the Basic Course Director (BCD) in the UT Dallas School of Arts and Humanities. She is responsible for co-developing the core required course COMM 1311—Survey of Oral and Technology-based Communication. In co-managing the program, she works to identify and hire top talent for both full- and part-time faculty positions, organize and facilitate technology training for all COMM 1311 instructors, and provides classroom observations and faculty evaluations. As the BCD, she maintains the daily operations of running the program, which has increased to 95 sections and 24 faculty members. Along with the COMM 1311 faculty, she promotes and facilitates identifying and sharing Best Practices for teaching the basic course to make improvements each semester.

 

Salena Brody

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Undergraduate Instruction (non-tenure track)

Dr. Salena Brody is Assistant Dean of Equity, Justice, and Inclusion and Professor of Instruction in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. She serves as Assistant Director for the Center for Teaching and Learning, working with four schools to program teaching-focused workshops. Dr. Brody’s teaching awards include the Aage Moller Teaching Excellence award, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues Innovative Teaching Award, and she is a UT Dallas Woman Leading in Diversity Honoree. She specializes in intergroup contact and prejudice reduction with nearly two decades of experience teaching the Psychology of Prejudice. Her expertise as a scholar-practitioner has most recently been featured in the APA Press book “Navigating Difficult Moments in Teaching Diversity and Social Justice,” on National Public Radio, and with the Dallas Bar Association. In addition to prejudice-focused courses, she teaches courses in Introductory Psychology and Workplace Psychology.

 

Dr. Jeremiah J. Gassensmith

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Undergraduate Instruction

Jeremiah earned his B. Sc. degree under the tutelage of Professor Joseph Gajewski at Indiana University and his Ph.D. from Professor Bradley D Smith at the University of Notre Dame, where he studied the synthesis of sterically shielded near-infrared luminescent dyes. After his PhD., he traveled to Northwestern University to learn under Professor Sir J. Fraser Stoddart. At Northwestern, he investigated a diverse array of topics, including gas sequestration by cyclodextrin-based metal-organic frameworks. He joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Dallas in August 2013. In 2015 he was awarded the School of Natural Science and Mathematics highest teaching award, in 2016 he was awarded a new doctoral investigator award by the American Chemical Society’s Petroleum Research Fund, and in 2017 he was awarded an NSF CAREER award and in 2021 he was awarded the President’s Excellence Award for undergraduate instruction. 

 

 

Kirk, Kristina Elizabeth 

President’s Teaching Excellence Award for Teaching Assistants

Kriss is a PhD candidate in the Arts and Humanities department at the University of Texas at Dallas, where she works as a rhetoric instructor and managing editor for Reunion: The Dallas Review. She holds bachelor’s degrees in sociology and English from Middle Tennessee State University and a master’s degree in literature from Belmont University. Exploring the interplay between sociology and English is a central passion, as she seeks to integrate the popular with the academic. Her current work aims to demonstrate how popular culture, particularly rap and hip-hop culture, can increase student attentiveness in the writing classroom. 

 

Katie Austin

Katie Austin

President’s Teaching Excellence Award for Teaching Assistants

Katie Austin is a teaching assistant and psychological sciences doctoral student in the School of Brain and Behavioral Sciences.

 

 

 

Dani Fadda

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Online/Blended Instruction 

Dr. Dani Fadda is an Associate Professor of Practice in Mechanical Engineering. His background includes two decades of engineering practice in the energy industry where he has held numerous positions. Dr. Fadda has worked in product research and developed patented products for chemical, petrochemical, and nuclear applications. He is an ASME Fellow and a Professional Engineer.

 

 

Mary Beth Goodrich

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Undergraduate Instruction (non-tenure track)

After working in 3 accounting internships and various accounting roles for over nine years, Mary Beth found her favorite position as a professor of instruction in accounting.  She has been teaching various courses in accounting since 2001.  Although the Covid19 pandemic was difficult, she admired how the professors, eLearning, OIT, and other areas of the university came together to learn new tools and techniques to deliver courses to students in a variety of modalities including in-person, virtually, and asynchronously.  She loves to challenge students to become their best selves and find their niche in the wide variety of positions accounting offers.  Using creative ways to teach accounting concepts and looking at how technology will impact the accounting profession in the future are two of her favorite aspects of teaching, but the end goal is always the same:  student success is her ultimate “paycheck”. 

 

Shahrin Upoma

President’s Teaching Excellence Award for Teaching Assistants (Honorable Mention)

Shahrin Upoma is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the management and leadership area at the Humphrey School. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Dallas where she also served as a Teaching Assistant. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Dhaka and a master’s degree in Economics from the University of North Texas. Dr. Upoma’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion through her teaching and research is grounded in her personal experience as a woman of color, first-generation student, and immigrant. Her research interest lies at the intersection of diversity, equity, and social justice. Dr. Upoma also received other prominent university awards such as the 2021 Diversity Student award from the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at UTD. Her agenda is to produce work that can be used by professionals, industry experts, and others trusted with the decision-making process. 

 

 

Ken Surra

President’s Teaching Excellence Award for Teaching Assistants (Honorable Mention)

Ken is a teaching assistant and research assistant for the Department of Science and Mathematics Education. His background is in physics, and he is also certified to teach physical science courses at the secondary school level. As a research assistant, Ken helps in the development of the Scaffolded Training Environment for Physics Programming (STEPP), which is a novel application that blends computational thinking skills and physics. Specifically, he serves as the project manager and student curriculum team lead on the project. Ken is passionate about making physics fun and accessible for everyone and hopes to take what he’s learned and accomplished at UT Dallas to his future high school physics classroom. 

 

 

Behshid Kasmaie

President’s Teaching Excellence Award for Teaching Assistants (Honorable Mention)

Behshid received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mathematics and Geometry from Islamic Azad University, Iran. She then taught as an adjunct Lecturer for four years at two universities. She joined UT Dallas in 2015 as a Research Assistant to start her Ph.D. in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Behshid’s Ph.D. work is on the mathematical aspects of classical general relativity, in particular on symmetry analysis of Einstein’s equations in vacuum spacetimes. At UT Dallas, Behshid served as a Teaching Assistant for a total of seven mathematics courses. She also tutored for AP calculus during this time. She gratefully acknowledges the inspiration and mentoring she received from the professors she worked under as a TA and the training she received from the Center for Teaching and Learning. Her primary motivation for good teaching comes from the joy she sees on the faces of her students when they understand a complex concept. 

 

President’s Teaching Excellence Awards of 2019

Danieli Rodrigues

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Undergraduate Instruction (tenure-track)

Danieli Rodrigues received her BS Degree in Chemical Engineering from Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Brazil in 2005. She then joined the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering at Syracuse University, Syracuse – NY, receiving her MS in 2007 and PhD in 2010. Her graduate research focused on orthopedic biomaterials, primarily working on the characterization of corrosion and failure mechanisms of hip implants and development of acrylic two-solution bone cements for treatment of spinal compression fractures. From 2010-2012, Dr. Rodrigues worked as Senior Research Engineer in the Fatigue and Fracture Mechanics Research Department at Zimmer Inc, Warsaw – IN. As a Research Engineer with the medical device industry, she developed test methods for performance verification and validation of new designs of hip and knee prostheses and related surgical instrumentation. Dr. Rodrigues joined the Department of Bioengineering at UT Dallas as an assistant professor in the Fall 2012.

 

Dr. Joanna Gentsch

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Undergraduate Instruction (non-tenure-track)

Joanna Gentsch is the Director of Student Programming and Community Engagement in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. She is a Developmental Psychologist and received both her PhD and Master’s Degree from UT Dallas. Dr. Gentsch is a member of the SACS COC Executive Leadership team and has administrative experience at both the school and university level. She recently received a Quantum Leap grant to expand experiential learning opportunities through Community-based learning and the creation of innovative student programming focused on social and academic belonging. Dr. Gentsch also enjoys teaching undergraduates in the school of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and through the Hobson Wildenthal Honors College.

 

 

 

Dr. Mary L. Urquhart

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Graduate/Professional Instruction

Dr. Urquhart’s formal training is as a planetary scientist with a specialization in the constraints on thermophysical properties of rocky and icy planetary crustal materials derived from temperature variations. However, starting in 1996 she has become increasingly involved in both NASA and independent educational outreach, which eventually led to her joining the Department of Science/Mathematics Education at UT Dallas in 2002 as the physics and astronomy education specialist. Her work includes preK-12 curriculum development, design and delivery of professional development for in-service teachers, working directly with preK-12 students in and outside of classrooms, and education research with emphases in the design of effective professional development for teachers and in the development of science concepts and attitudes in learners of all ages. She is a passionate mentor to science students with an interest in educational outreach or science education research, and to teachers with a growing interest in science. Dr. Urquhart is also keenly interested in working with policymakers in education from early childhood through graduate school, especially with regard to teacher training and curriculum design.

 

 

Dr. Abhijit Biswas

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Online/Blended Instruction

Dr. Abhijit Biswas has a diverse background delivering numerous marketing management courses for MBA and EMBA programs for more than 20 years at Purdue UniversitySouthern Methodist University, and UT Dallas.  He teaches  a wide spectrum of Marketing courses like Principles of MarketingAdvertising and Promotions ManagementConsumer Behavior and Brand Management. He has also developed and taught the Capstone Marketing Strategy course, Pricing ManagementMarketing ResearchProduct Management and International Marketing.

 

 

 

Dr. Julie Parsons

President’s Teaching Excellence Award for Teaching Assistants

Dr. Julie Parsons has served in a teaching role at UT Dallas for five years. She has been a teaching assistant for 12 courses, and she has taught two of her own courses.

 

 

 

 

 

President’s Teaching Excellence Awards of 2018

 

Dr. Jonas Bunte

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Undergraduate Instruction (tenure-track)

Dr. Jonas Bunte is an assistant professor of public economy in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences. Teaching at UT Dallas since 2013, he studies the politics of finance. His classes explore how politics shapes economics and vice versa. He said his courses aim to provide students with the tools to think critically in an increasingly complex world.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Amandeep Sra

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Undergraduate Instruction (non-tenure-track)

Dr. Amandeep Sra is a senior lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. She began her teaching career at UT Dallas in 2011. She instructs sophomore and freshman courses and laboratories. She also serves as the general chemistry lab coordinator, faculty liaison for the Student Success Center and a summer camp facilitator.

 

 

Dr. Robert Ackerman

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Graduate/Professional Instruction

Dr. Robert Ackerman is an associate professor of psychology in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. He arrived at UT Dallas in 2011 and has taught graduate-level and undergraduate courses on topics such as personality, statistics, and research design and analysis. He said he enjoys watching students’ interest come alive with new insights into statistics and data analysis.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Lanham

Dr. Carol Cirulli Lanham

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Online/Blended Instruction

Senior lecturer Carol Cirulli Lanham MS’09, PhD’11 has been teaching at UT Dallas since 2011. She teaches a variety of sociology classes online and in the classroom. As assistant dean in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, she also teaches the freshman seminar.

 

 

 

Ariel Arguelles

President’s Teaching Excellence Award for Teaching Assistants

Graduate student Ariel Arguelles teaches both Human Resources Management and Diversity in the Public Sector in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences. She has been teaching at UT Dallas since spring 2017. She said her favorite part of teaching has been interacting with students and continuously challenging them in their ideas and beliefs.

“This isn’t done to persuade them, but to encourage them to better understand not just what they believe, but why,” she said.

 

Dr. Gregg Dieckmann

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Undergraduate Instruction (tenure-track)

In addition to this year’s President’s Award, Dr. Gregg Dieckmann, associate professor of chemistry, has twice won Outstanding Teacher Awards from the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. A faculty member since 1999, he has taught inorganic chemistry, physical biochemistry and general chemistry, a course he has coordinated since 2006.    

 

Dr. Sabrina Starnaman

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Undergraduate Instruction (non-tenure-track)

Dr. Sabrina Starnaman, clinical assistant professor in the School of Arts and Humanities, began teaching at UT Dallas in 2011. She has taught an array of literary studies courses, including The Literature of Fantasy, The Literature of Science Fiction and Studies in Women’s Literature.    

 

 

Sharron Conrad

President’s Teaching Excellence Award for Teaching Assistants

Sharron Conrad has worked as a teaching assistant at UT Dallas since fall 2014 teaching rhetoric in the School of Arts and Humanities. She credits her successes in the classroom to her experience in her previous career working with students in art and history museums.    

 

 

 

Dr. Ravi Prakash

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Graduate/Professional Instruction

Dr. Ravi Prakash, a professor of computer science, has taught undergrads and graduate students for nearly 20 years in the Department of Computer Science and the Hobson Wildenthal Honors College.      

 

 

 

 

Kathy Zolton

President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Online/Blended Instruction

Senior lecturer of accounting Kathy Zolton has been at the Naveen Jindal School of Management for five years. Her primary course is Advanced Financial Reporting. Zolton said the key to online courses and asynchronous learning is to help the students feel that they are all together on the same path at around the same time.

 

 

 

President’s Teaching Excellence Awards of 2016

Teachers Honored at Convocation for Passion, Commitment to Students

Dr. Ryan McMahan

Provost’s Award for Faculty Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring

Dr. Ryan McMahan is an assistant professor in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication. Since joining UT Dallas in 2012, McMahan has mentored 25 graduate, 15 undergraduate and six summer high school students conducting research in his Future Immersive Virtual Environments (FIVE) Lab. He also promotes research for underrepresented groups, including the establishment of a research summer camp for underrepresented high school students.  

 

Dr. Denise Paquette Boots

President’s Teaching Excellence Award

Boots, who joined UT Dallas in 2006, teaches Introduction to Crime and Criminology and courses on topics including family violence, victimology, homicide and capital punishment. In 2009, she received a UT Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. Students who nominated Boots praised her passion for teaching and her efforts to help students succeed, even long after they finish her courses.  

 

Dr. Jigarkumar Patel

President’s Teaching Excellence Award (non-tenure-track)

Patel earned both a master’s degree and PhD in applied mathematics from UT Dallas. He also received bachelor’s degrees in pure mathematics and education, and a master’s degree in pure mathematics from Gujarat University in India. Patel has been a senior lecturer since 2011 and is course coordinator for Applied Calculus II. In comments in Patel’s nomination materials, students praised him for the clarity of his lectures, his enthusiasm for his subject matter and his willingness to work one on one with students outside of class.  

 

Emily Herzig

President’s Teaching Excellence Award for Teaching Assistants

Herzig was named one of the department’s first teaching associates, and has been the instructor of record for precalculus and applied calculus courses since 2014. Herzig said her approach to teaching draws on her enjoyment of the logical, problem-solving aspects of math.