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Volume 68, Issue 59, Friday, November 15, 2002


Annual award honors eminence in teaching

By Sheree Stubblefield
The Daily Cougar

Students, faculty or staff members who'd like to see a professor honored can nominate the instructor for a Teaching Excellence Award.

Six awards are given to tenured or tenure-track professors, including two professors who teach undergraduate core curriculum courses. 

Two awards are also given to graduate students who work as teaching assistants. Professors win $5,000 each, and teaching assistants win $1,000.

The applications are due by Dec. 2, and the winners will be decided by a panel composed mostly of former winners picked by the Faculty Senate.

The committee would like "as many applications as we can get," said philosophy professor James Garson.

Reaching a decision is "hard work," Garson said. 

The committee is hoping to receive more than the 25 applications it received last year, he said. 

It would also like to honor a distance education professor, which wasn't possible last year because none were nominated last year.

Prior winners have expressed their enthusiasm at receiving this award.

"I think it's a wonderful award (and) a positive thing for the University," said David Shattuk, an associate professor of electrical engineering who won in 1999. "(It is) one of the several tangible pieces of evidence that the University cares about its teachers."

In the first round of judging, the committee looks at letters of recommendation from students, faculty members and alumni, among other items.

The committee members must then decide who goes on to round two. 

During this time, they look at student evaluations and will actually visit the nominees' classes to ensure these professors embody what a good teacher should be.

Committee members stressed how hard it is to choose winners.

"We do the best job we can," said associate law professor and 1995 winner Seth Chandler. "Good teaching is good teaching."

Visiting the classes is an "indication of a real emphasis of the teaching part of the University of Houston," he said. "(It) gives me an opportunity to see teaching in a (variety) of fields."

Anyone who would like to nominate a professor can go to for more information.

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