April 6-12, 2001
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Awards celebrate dedicated teaching at the University
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Awards celebrate dedicated teaching at the University

By Robert Brickhouse

Amazing. Committed. Supportive. Demanding. Insightful. Passionate. Enriching.
Those are just a few of the words used by students and faculty alike to describe nine U.Va. professors, four graduate teaching assistants and two medical residents, known for their exceptional classroom dedication, who will receive this year’s University-wide awards that honor outstanding teaching.

The honorees, chosen by a committee from numerous nominations and in-depth testimonials from students and colleagues, will be honored April 11 in the Rotunda at U.Va.’s 10th annual “In Celebration of Teaching” banquet. Vice President and Provost Peter W. Low and Vice Provost Barbara Nolan will present the awards.

Each year, the choices are not only difficult but also inspirational for selection committee members, said Nolan, who coordinated the awards process. “Brilliant teaching takes place every day of every semester in our lecture halls and seminars and in individual meetings with students,” she said. “These award winners truly exemplify the best efforts of all our faculty.”

Receiving the 2001 teaching awards are:

Richard Guy Wilson, professor of architectural history: the Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award. The annual award is given to a faculty member who has excelled as a teacher, shown unusual concern for students and made significant contributions to University life for at least a decade. The winner receives a $2,500 prize.

Susan E. Burns, assistant professor of civil engineering: The Alumni Board of Trustees Teaching Award. The award is given to an assistant professor for demonstrated skill in teaching and carries a $1,000 prize, with $1,500 in additional support and offers a semester’s research assignment.

Winners of All-University Outstanding Teaching Awards, each carrying a $2,000 prize and recognizing ability to inspire and motivate students, are:

Glenn Beamer, assistant professor of government and foreign affairs
Claire Lyu, assistant professor of French
Anthony Spearing, professor of English
Robert Weikle II, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering
Timothy D. Wilson, professor of psychology

New this year are Outstanding Teaching Awards for those who teach University Seminars, known as USEMs. The awards recognize outstanding efforts to promote critical thinking skills. The winners are:

Sarah Farrell, assistant professor of Nursing
Cynthia Wall, associate professor of English

The awards, each carrying a $1,500 prize, are open to faculty members who have taught in the USEM program of intensive classes for first-year students.

“The USEM program has matured to the point where we have a large number of faculty who have taught them, and we thought they deserved to be recognized,” said Nolan. Based on student evaluations this year, the selection process may include other evaluation and assessment tools in the future, she said.

Winners of All-University Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards, each carrying a $1,000 prize for teaching excellence, are:

K. Drogula, History
June A. Griffin, English
Ben Lee, English
Karen Batt Stanish, Mathematics

Winners of the Resident Teaching Awards in the School of Medicine, each receiving a $1,000 prize, are:

Dr. Don M. Benson, Department of Internal Medicine
Dr. Andrew E. Lazar, Department of Internal Medicine

Also honored at the banquet will be James A. Smith, associate professor of civil engineering, who holds the Cavaliers’ Distinguished Teaching Professorship this year and next. The rotating endowed professorship that recognizes excellent teaching is partly supported by athletic bowl earnings.


© Copyright 2001 by the Rector and Visitors
of the University of Virginia

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