Texas A&M University-Kingsville

New General Education Faculty Teaching Award Uses Student Nominations to Recognize Outstanding Faculty

KINGSVILLE - May 13, 2008

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361-593-4143

A new teaching award at Texas A&M University-Kingsville lets students nominate faculty that teach undergraduate general education courses.

The General Education Faculty Teaching Award will be awarded for the first time in spring 2009, and recognizes faculty who teach classes students take to fulfill their general education requirements, as outlined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Those include classes in communication, mathematics, natural sciences, humanities and visual and performing arts, social and behavioral sciences, computer literacy and kinesiology.

Students of those classes nominate teachers based on a set of criteria that includes knowledge of subject matter, empathy, enthusiasm, accessibility, organization and clarity of explanations.

The award was initiated by the university’s General Education Committee (GEC), a group of 11 faculty who evaluate the effectiveness of academic programs and monitor the university’s compliance of general education requirements.

“We wanted to reward faculty who teach students the basics, to reinforce the importance of good teaching in these core courses,” said GEC member Dr. Jacqueline Thomas, Regents Professor of French and director of the Center for Teaching Effectiveness.

“It’s another way to show that the university values teachers’ contribution to the students’ acquisition of a common body of essential knowledge and skills, which will help them in their fields and as members of the community.

“We also want to create a sense of community among these teachers who work in different disciplines, but with a common purpose.”

The first call for student nomination letters is expected before the 2009 Spring Break, and will be due following the break. The winning faculty member will receive $500 and a plaque of recognition at the end of the spring semester.

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