Faculty at three University of Texas System institutions will be recognized as the inaugural recipients of the System’s Innovations in Education Awards, which laud individuals who produce cutting-edge approaches to teaching that have proven to be both creative and effective in classrooms and laboratories.
“These faculty members demonstrate extraordinary ability in devising novel approaches to teaching and learning – methods that explore alternative pedagogies which could provide a bold new framework for future curricula,” UT System Chancellor Mark G. Yudof said.
“We believe these innovative programs maximize our students’ engagement in their coursework, increase their potential for achievement and advance excellence at our institutions.”
In all, seven faculty members were recognized for their work on three projects. In one case, five professors collaborated on the program; in the other two, a single professor was recognized for the program. Each prize comes with a $5,000 award.
The awards, funded by the UT System Chancellor’s Council, will be presented at the group’s annual meeting in Austin on May 4.
“We recognize there are many successes throughout the UT System ranks and we hope these awards will help continue to foster a culture of innovation and healthy scholarship among our faculty members,” said John T. Stuart III of Dallas, chairman of the Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee.
“We hope these awards continue to increase awareness of our faculty’s outstanding work throughout the system.”
The faculty and their respective programs receiving recognition are:
- Alma Leal, Ed.D.; Olivia Rivas, Ed.D.; Selma Yznaga, Ph.D.; Manuel Zamarripa, Ph.D. and Ray Adomaitis, Ph.D., of UT Brownsville. These faculty members collaborated to create the Community and Counseling Clinic at UT Brownsville. Because many students in the program are fluent in Spanish and English, but have learned virtually all of the basic counseling and psychological constructs in English, the faculty developed a bilingual lab manual that provides translations to important terms regarding emotions and psychological disorders. It gives students the linguistic tools necessary to explain counseling ideas and concepts to future Spanish-speaking clients.
- Thomas E. Linehan, Ph.D., of UT Dallas. Linehan developed the Arts and Technology (ATEC) Program, the first comprehensive degree program in Texas that combines computer science and engineering with creative arts and the humanities. The program offers a unique approach in that it combines a variety of fields with modes of thinking and incorporates multiple forms of digital content. Students can mix interactive narration with game creation, visual elements and sound design and even animated and simulated worlds. The courses are intended to educate students to succeed in a media-rich, technologically sophisticated world. With more than 400 students, and in less than three years of existence, the program grew into the university’s largest undergraduate major in the School of Arts and Humanities.
- Manuel Berriozábal, Ph.D., of UT San Antonio. Berriozábal founded the Texas Prefreshman Engineering Program (TexPREP) at UT San Antonio. Begun in 1979, the program conducts no-cost summer math-based academic enrichment programs for high-achieving middle school and high school students who come from the city’s most underserved areas. More than 25,000 students have completed at least one summer session in the program, and by 2005, 97 percent of its attendees were either in college or had graduated from college.