UT Senate kicks off event to honor, thank faculty

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Sociology senior Michelle Saenz credits Moon Draper, her rhetoric of psychology lecturer, for helping her be a competent human being.

Saenz used the 13th annual Faculty Appreciation Week as an opportunity to thank her professor.
The Senate of College Councils sponsors the week by encouraging students to write thank-you cards in the West Mall and Gregory Plaza.

Mariangela Arata, co-chair of Faculty Affairs committee, said the appreciation week will feature free T-shirts and food, as well as discounts for faculty on the Drag and to athletic events.

“Students get to show appreciation for the amazing faculty we have on campus, especially by writing them thank-you cards for the amazing work they do,” Arata said. “If they weren’t here then we wouldn’t have the awesome reputation we have on this campus.”

Arata said the council’s goal was to reach 2,500 thank-you cards by the end of the week. She said they will meet more than their goal because they had reached 1,000 cards in the Gregory Plaza by noon on Monday.

Draper said he appreciated the gratitude. He said he thinks students respond better to his teaching because he spends late afternoons and early evenings in informal study groups with students.

“A lot of people are intimidated by a large classroom or setting,” Draper said. “If we’re just sitting around, casually studying where students are free to talk to each other or munch on french fries and there’s no obligation to participate you are more willing to do it this time around.”

He said he gets recognized more as a resource rather than someone making a demand on students.

“I cough up the time so they can have me clarify anything they want,” Draper said. “Instead of a formal discussion setting, we’re sitting at the same level and that makes a big difference.”

Sports management senior Tyler Davis said the least he could do was thank some of his professors before he graduates. He said associate kinesiology professor Marlene Dixon stood out because he learned so much on accounting and sports management.

“She really cared about students and took time to help students that didn’t quite understand,” Davis said. “She was invested in the students.”

Dixon, who has taught at UT for seven years, said it is always nice to hear a thanks from students, especially at a large research University where research is so heavily emphasized.