Hi 76 / Lo 53
|Volume 68, Issue 60,
Monday, November 18, 2002
Ed De La Garza
Josh Gajewski Nikie Johnson
A chance at the limelight
Think of your favorite class.
Was the class great because of its subject, or because of the person who taught it?
Chances are the professor had as much or more to do with how much you liked the class as what the class was about.
An otherwise boring class can be made great by a skilled professor — just as an otherwise great class can be ruined by a bad professor.
Unfortunately, not many avenues exist to show professors how much students appreciate the extra effort really good teaching requires.
One way to do so, however, is by nominating a professor for a Teaching Excellence Award.
Six of these awards are given each year to professors, and two to graduate students working as teaching assistants. The professor awards are given to tenured or tenure-track professors only.
Last year, only 25 nominations were turned in. That says one of two things about UH: Either the quality of teaching here is so awful that only 25 professors have touched a student enough to make a mark, or students are uninformed about this opportunity to thank their teachers.
For the sake of our education, letis hope itis the second reason.
All students should be lucky enough to have one special professor during their college career who really makes a difference. If this is the case, take a moment to do something in return for that professor.
To nominate a professor, a student, alumnus or faculty member can write a one-page letter of nomination. Then, tell the professor so he or she can write a statement of teaching philosophy and prepare a curriculum vitae. Then, the professor needs three letters of recommendation: one from a student or alumnus, one from a fellow professor and one from an administrator. The committee that chooses the winners also visits the nomineesi classes to see teaching in action.
The life of a professor or TA is not a glamorous one. Getting an award like this, as one former recipient put it, is "one of the several tangible pieces of evidence that the University of Houston cares about its teachers."
The $5,000 award for professors and $1,000 for TAs helps, too.
So show your professors that students care about how well they teach, and give someone the chance to be in the spotlight for awhile.
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