Center for Teaching and Learning

Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards

Established by the Board of Regents in 2008, the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards complement a wide range of System-wide efforts that underscore the Board’s commitment to ensuring the UT System is a place of intellectual exploration and discovery, educational excellence and unparalleled opportunity. Candidate selection is a rigorous, campus-based process, relying heavily on student and peer faculty evaluations followed by various stages of evaluation at the department and college levels. With a monetary award of $25,000, the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards are among the largest in the nation for rewarding outstanding faculty performance. Given the depth and breadth of talent across the UT System, the awards program is likewise one of the nation’s most competitive. More information can be found here.


Dr. Noah Sasson, studies mechanisms of social disability in Autism Spectrum Disorder. He currently is pursuing a large-scale project comparing social cognitive profiles between autism and schizophrenia, and how they relate to general cognition, social behavior, and social functioning. Dr. Sasson’s other work within autism research involves face processing, non-social motivation (i.e., circumscribed interests), eye-tracking, and studies of the Broad Autism Phenotype. More recently, Dr. Sasson has been examining how the perceptions, biases, and responses of non-autistic people contribute to social interaction difficulties in autism. Dr. Sasson earned his bachelor’s degree at Franklin and Marshall College and his PhD at the University of North Carolina.

Dr. Amandeep Sra, who in the last two years has received both a President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Undergraduate Instruction from UT Dallas and an Outstanding Teacher Award from NSM, began teaching at UT Dallas in 2011, and instructs freshman and sophomore general chemistry courses and laboratories. She previously worked for the University as a research associate in materials science and in electrical engineering.


Dr. Gregg Dieckmann, associate professor of chemistry in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, coordinates the general chemistry lecture courses, which include seven lecture sections for the on-sequence course, each with up to 250 students, and one section of the off-sequence course. As associate department head in chemistry, Dieckmann also helps choose the course’s lecturers, who teach from a shared syllabus. Several of those instructors have won awards for their teaching skills. Dieckmann joined the UT Dallas faculty in 1999. He has twice earned teaching awards from the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and in 2017 he received the President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Undergraduate Instruction, a University-level award

Dr. Peter Jay IngraoDr. Peter Ingrao, clinical assistant professor of literature in the School of Arts and Humanities, has taught literature at UT Dallas for 10 years, and his teaching skills have been recognized with nominations for the President’s Teaching Excellence Award and his participation with the UT Dallas Center for Teaching and Learning. He earned his doctorate from UT Dallas in 2004, and is known for teaching classes that delve into Southern literature, particularly the identity and religion of the South.


Dr. Mieczyslaw Dabkowski, associate professor of mathematical sciences, has been with UT Dallas since 2003. He teaches topology, mathematical analysis and abstract algebra, with a research focus on knot theory, in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Originally from Poland, Dabkowski earned his PhD at George Washington University.

Dr. Robert Hart, clinical associate professor of mechanical engineering, coordinates and teaches the mechanical engineering senior capstone design course in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, and has an active interest in engineering education. After a career as a practicing engineer, Hart earned his PhD from The University of Texas at Austin and refocused his work on academics and teaching.

Dr. Sabrina Starnaman, clinical associate professor in the School of Arts and Humanities, specializes in American literature, disability studies, gender, urbanism, speculative fiction and literature of science. She previously received the President’s Outstanding Teaching Award, and was also awarded the Victor Worsfold Outstanding Teaching Award from the School of Arts and Humanities. Starnaman received her PhD in literature from the University of California, San Diego.


Kim Knight

Dr. Kim Knight is an Assistant Professor of Emerging Media and Communication at the University of Texas at Dallas. Her research broadly centers on the ways digital culture affects negotiations of power and the formation of identity. More specifically, her current work on viral media addresses the role of digital media as it circulates outside of broadcast paradigms and empowers or oppresses subjects in network society. She also has multiple research projects in progress on the topic of gendered identity and digital media. One of the fundamental strategies of her research methodology is to bring together the vectors of theory and practice. As such, her work uniquely blends traditional modes of scholarship with the production of theoretically-informed media objects.


Jindal Professor Receives Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award Dr. McClain Watson is the director of business communication programs in the Naveen Jindal School of Managementat at the University of Texas at Dallas. This is the second teaching award he has received in the past two years. Last year, Watson received a President’s Teaching Excellence Award. Through his instruction and innovation in the classroom — and his mentorship outside of class — Watson encourages students to remember that they’re not simply pupils, and that after they graduate, other aspects of their lives will matter more than test scores and GPAs. Read More


History Professor Earns Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award Rankin, who has taught at UT Dallas for nearly a decade, specializes in Latin American history and is the director of the Center for U.S.-Latin America Initiatives. Her first experience teaching was as a PhD student at the University of Arizona. She said that as a teaching assistant, she was encouraged to make her classroom interactive. Rankin is currently co-authoring a general textbook on Latin American history with a colleague from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. They are finishing the final chapters of the publication. She said one of her biggest goals as a professor is helping students see the relevance of what’s being taught and how to apply those lessons in their professional lives. Read More


Faculty Members Receive Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards Dr. Mohammad Saquib, Dr. Alex Piquero, Dr. Rebecca Files, Dr. Randall Lehmann and Dr. Jason Slinker (left to right) were recently honored with UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards. Not pictured is fellow winner Dr. Michael Baron. “We are proud that these awards support and promote a culture of teaching excellence, especially in undergraduate programs, at all our campuses systemwide,” said Regents Vice Chairman Steven Hicks, chair of the board’s Academic Affairs Committee. “The teachers we are honoring are truly the best of the best.” Read More


Regents’ Teaching Awards Honor 5 UT Dallas Faculty Members

Award-Winning Professor Began Honing Teaching Skills as a Student Dr. Mohammad Akbar discovered his love for teaching early on when he tutored students and helped his friends with their undergraduate classes. What began as an altruistic way to help college friends understand the complexities of physics and math has flourished into a full-fledged academic teaching and research career. Earlier in the year he earned the 2013 Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award from the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Read More

Professor Lauded for Making Classroom Experience Feel Personal UT Dallas professor Dr. Daniel Arce is known for his high standards and high-caliber teaching in some of the program’s largest classes. Dr. Denis Dean, dean of the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, said the logistics of big classes often are tough for teachers, but Arce excels in the situation. After 22 years in education, including six years at UT Dallas, Arce’s teaching recently has been recognized with the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. Read More

Teachers from Years Past Still Inspire Honored Math Professor When it comes to teaching, Dr. Matthew Goeckner draws on inspiration from his past in making the learning experience joyful and fulfilling for UT Dallas students. Goeckner, head of the Mathematical Sciences Department, was rewarded for his efforts by The University of Texas System, which chose him as one of five UT Dallas faculty members to receive the 2013 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. Growing up in the small town of Macomb, Ill., Goeckner said he had stellar high school teachers who encouraged him and sparked his desire to learn more. Read More

Good Teaching Focuses on Relevance, Regents’ Award Winner Says Dr. Karen Huxtable-Jester, recipient of the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, says good teaching starts with one thing – finding joy in connecting with students. Huxtable-Jester has taught nearly 8,000 students since 2000, when she arrived at UT Dallas, where she is a teaching support coordinator and a senior lecturer in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. With a repertoire of seven courses ranging from educational psychology to research methods to family violence, Huxtable-Jester strives to make her subjects relevant for students. Read More

Literary Studies Professor Praised for New Approaches to Old Works Since 2009, Dr. Jessica C. Murphy, assistant professor of literary studies, has challenged UT Dallas students to approach traditional subjects with new tools and technologies. Her efforts have been recognized with a 2013 UT System Board of Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. Murphy teaches courses that cover the plays of Shakespeare, women in early modern literature, and medieval and renaissance literature. She approaches these classical subjects with a digital bent. Read More


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