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

Celebrating a Century of Human Ecology


A vintage postcard of Gearing Hall, home of Human Ecology

Science-based, human-focused. That’s how UT’s School of Human Ecology describes itself, and this year human ecology celebrates 100 years at The University of Texas. The Tower will glow orange tonight in the school’s honor.

It began as the School of Domestic Economy with the arrival of Mary Gearing in 1912. (Gearing Hall was named for her and houses the school.) Just three years later it became the Department of Home Economics, which it remained until 1990, when it became the Department of Human Ecology and then, in 2008, gained “school” status.

Today, as part of the College of Natural Sciences, it’s composed of two departments — Human Development and Family Sciences, and Nutritional Sciences — and one division, Textiles and Apparel. The school’s mission is to study and foster the healthy development of individuals and their families. It serves more than 2,297 undergraduates and about 88 graduate students. The school also supports the research, teaching, and outreach activities that take place in three outstanding units: the Priscilla Pond Flawn Child and Family Laboratory, the Dell Pediatric Research Institute, and the Historical Textiles and Apparel Collection.

When the Board of Regents in 1910 called for “rational university instruction … in domestic economy, including household economics, the evolution of the home, the legal rights of women, household management, architecture, etc.,” few could have guessed the extent to which the discipline would grow and enrich us. Above all, the work of the School of Human Ecology affirms that understanding and improving our own habitat — along with the habitat of the rest of the world’s creatures — is a noble and worthwhile endeavor. We should all be proud of the school and all it has accomplished. My congratulations to Director Sheldon Ekland-Olson.

The School of Human Ecology welcomes the university community to a moderated panel discussion “How Healthy Choices Enhance Life” featuring three outstanding Longhorns: Beverly Kearney, Garrett Weber-Gale, and Marissa Duswalt. The panel will take place today, November 8, at 2 p.m. in the Texas Union Ballroom. A reception will follow. 

What starts here changes the world.