Newest members of Academy of Distinguished Teachers named


From left, Richard Corsi, Mechele Dickerson, and John Markert

I’d like to congratulate the newest members of UT’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers.
They are:

  • Richard Corsi, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering
  • Mechele Dickerson, School of Law
  • John Markert, Department of Physics, College of Natural Sciences

The academy was created in 1995 to recognize tenured faculty members who throughout their careers have maintained significant contributions to education, particularly at the undergraduate level. Academy members receive the title of “Distinguished Teaching Professor” and a $7,500 increase in annual academic salary, effective the following academic year.

Moreover, the academy serves as an advisory group to the executive vice president and provost on teaching excellence and will provide institutional leadership and guidance for the distinctive undergraduate experience available in our research university environment.

I’m proud of professors Corsi, Dickerson, and Markert. They’re the best of the best.

Bill Powers signature

Academy of Distinguished Teachers welcomes new members


Academy of Distinguished Teachers

 (From left) Sam Gosling, President Powers, Beth Pomeroy, Doug Bruster, and Oguzhan Bayrak. Not pictured are Peter Stone and John Stanton.

On Wednesday, UT’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers inducted six new members. I’d like to share a little bit about each of this year’s inductees:

  • Oguzhan Bayrak is director of the Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory and holds the Charles Elmer Rowe Fellowship in Engineering. He studies behavior, analysis, and design of reinforced and pre-stressed concrete structures, bridge engineering, evaluation of structures in distress, structural repair, fiber-reinforced polymers, and earthquake engineering.
  • Douglas Bruster, the Moody C. Boatwright Regents Professor, is a Shakespeare specialist who also studies modern playwrights like David Mamet and David Hare. His books on Shakespeare and early modern drama include Drama and the Market in the Age of Shakespeare, Quoting Shakespeare, Shakespeare and the Question of Culture, Prologues to Shakespeare’s Theatre, To Be or Not To Be and Shakespeare and the Power of Performance. He taught at Harvard, the University of Chicago, and the University of Paris before coming to UT Austin.
  • Samuel Gosling is a personality/social psychologist who researches how people select and craft the environments in which they dwell to suit their personalities; personality or temperament in non-human animals; and online data-collection methods in the behavioral sciences. His research frequently appears in the national and international media.
  • Elizabeth Pomeroy is the Bert Kruger Smith Centennial Professor in Social Work and coordinator of our Clinical Social Work Concentration. Her interests include mental health, health and children and families; HIV/AIDS interventions; crime victims; interventions for offenders in the criminal justice system; and clinical social work group interventions for children, adults, and families.
  • John Stanton is our George W. Watt Centennial Professor. His research group works in the area of theoretical chemistry. He focuses on developing new theoretical methods and implementing them in computationally efficient computer programs, and applying these and other methods to the solution of interesting chemical and spectroscopic problems.
  • Peter Stone is the David Burton Jr. Centennial Professor and founder and director of the Learning Agents Research Group within the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in the Department of Computer Science. His application domains have included robot soccer, autonomous bidding agents, autonomous vehicles, autonomic computing, and social agents.

Members of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers are the best of the best. I’m extremely proud of these six and all of our current members.

What starts here changes the world.

Bill Powers signature

Academy of Distinguished Teachers welcomes new members

On Monday, UT’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers inducted four new members into its ranks. I’d like to share a little bit about each of this year’s inductees:

  • Sheldon Ekland-Olson has long been a beloved teacher and currently has appointments in three UT colleges and schools in including the College of Natural Sciences, where he serves as director of our School of Human Ecology; the College of Liberal Arts, where he is a longtime professor of sociology; and the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Sheldon has also served as provost of the University.
  • Calvin Lin is a professor of computer sciences in our College of Natural Sciences. He recruits top Texas high school students away from the Ivy League and to our honors program, the Turing Scholars Program. And he inspires students in the classroom and on the Ultimate Frisbee field. Calvin’s teaching philosophy builds on the same three principles that implicitly shaped his nationally ranked Ultimate teams: Set high expectations, create a culture of success, and involve the individuals.
  • Juan Miro brings his students into the fold of architectural practice, guiding them to understand that design is a holistic process. His passion for architecture is demonstrated from teaching studio classes to leading students on architectural tours of Mexico each summer. And he contributes to the community with his own designs. Juan’s students do not simply learn the technical aspects of architecture but become thinkers, builders, and artists.
  • Theresa O’Halloran of the School of Biological Sciences, keeps undergraduates engaged through non-traditional methods that might include peer-to-peer instruction or physically active classroom exercises. She uses an entire class of students to act out the formation of proteins. Theresa challenges her students to think critically, and they flock to her classes as well as to opportunities to work in her lab, which often lead to graduate work in biology and medicine.
    Members of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers are the best of the best, and I’m proud of these four and all of our 118 current members.

What starts here changes the world.

Bill's Signature

Our Own Academy Awards

 Academy of Distinguished Teachers Medallion

Among the many ways we reward excellent teaching on the Forty Acres none is more special to me than the induction of new members into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. My own induction in 1997 will always be one of the highlights of my career.

Each year, deans nominate professors for membership, and a committee including members of the academy, students, and other faculty recommend a slate of honorees to the provost, who makes the final selections. Established in 1995, the academy honors members with the permanent designation of “University Distinguished Teaching Professor.”

Tonight, seven professors will join that 5 percent of tenured faculty who comprise the academy, modeling excellence and providing leadership in our continuous quest to improve undergraduate education:

  • Sharon Jarvis of Communication Studies
  • Yale N. Patt of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Michael W. Downer of Physics
  • Jay L. Banner of Geological Sciences
  • Marjorie C. Woods of English
  • Anna E. “Beth” Maloch of Curriculum and Instruction
  • Charles “Josh” Holahan of Psychology

With tonight’s additions, 121 faculty members have been recognized as University Distinguished Teaching Professors. I often say our faculty is the best, which makes our academy members the best of the best.

Thank you for all you do to make The University of Texas at Austin world class.

Bill's Signature