Seven professors join Academy of Distinguished Teachers

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Seven UT teachers received recognition for their contributions this week when they joined the ranks of University Distinguished Teaching Professors.

The Office of the Provost announced seven professors will be inducted into the prestigious Academy of Distinguished Teachers. These professors will also serve in advisory positions to the provost, provide guidance for the undergraduate programs and serve as mentors for new faculty.

English professor Majorie Woods is one of this year’s inductees.

“It is very important to me to be recognized for both teaching and research. I see these as complimentary responsibilities,” said Woods, who is currently in England researching literature education during the Middle Ages. “Being nominated by my department was an honor in itself, but I had been nominated before and not been chosen. I was ecstatic when I was chosen.”

Geosciences professor Jay L. Banner, who has published several papers in his field, also received the new designation.

“He obviously deserves this honor,” said hydrogeology senior Daniel Reyes, a student of Banner’s. “What distinguishes him is that he makes everything very personal. He connects with his students, and he’s very funny. His research is very detailed. Everything he does is very detailed.”

Reyes said Banner’s work with the city to bridge the divide between research and policy impressed him.

Sharon Jarvis, associate professor of communication studies and associate director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Participation, said she believes she will enjoy this new responsibility.

“I look forward to work in this regard as much as I can,” Jarvis said. “I have so much respect for my junior colleagues and look forward to helping them any way I can.”

The Academy was established in 1995 and now represents 5 percent of UT faculty. It aims to provide a network of support for the teaching community and to enhance the undergraduate experience of current students.

“[The Academy] is a very select group that have obtained a level of success in terms of their research and their teaching,” said Neal Armstrong, vice provost for Faculty Affairs. “These faculty really represent all the faculty and their research. I regard them all very highly.”

New members of the Academy are selected each year through a rigorous evaluation process. Students and other faculty review the nominations and recommend a slate of honorees to the provost, who makes the selections. Following their induction into the Academy, each faculty member will receive a permanent salary increase of $7,000, which is allocated each year for new inductees. Associate education professor Beth Maloch said she will put the money to good use.

“My oldest stepson will be a freshman at UT-Austin next year, so the extra money will probably be going right back to UT,” Maloch said.