UT Regents Name 10 UTEP Teachers Among System’s Best

The University of Texas Board of Regents announced today that it had selected a record number of UTEP faculty members to receive its prestigious Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards, the highest honor bestowed by the group.

The 10 honorees from The University of Texas at El Paso are the most from the University in the four-year history of the program. It honors faculty members in The University of Texas System’s nine academic and six health institutions who have shown “an extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction.” The previous record for UTEP was nine in 2009 and 2010.

The UTEP contingent of five men and five women and the other 55 prize winners will be honored during an Aug. 22 ceremony on the UT Austin campus.

The prize winners are Patricia “Trisha” Ainsa, Ph.D., professor of teacher education; Ezra Cappell, Ph.D., associate professor of English; Peter Golding, Ph.D., associate professor of metallurgical and materials engineering; Virgilio Gonzalez, Ph.D., senior lecturer, electrical and computer engineering; Eric Hagedorn, Ph.D., associate professor of physics; Laura Lunstrum Hall, Ph.D., associate professor of information and decision science; Helen Hammond, Ph.D., associate professor of educational psychology and special services; Kien Hwa Lim, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematical sciences; Guillermina “Gina” Núñez-Mchiri, Ph.D., assistant professor of anthropology; and DeAnna Kay Varela, senior lecturer in the Women’s Studies Program.

“All of us at UTEP applaud the UT System Board of Regents for establishing an award to recognize teaching excellence,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “We are extremely proud that this year 10 UTEP faculty members were selected to receive the 2012 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards. These talented, innovative and dedicated UTEP teachers richly deserve the recognition conferred by this prestigious and highly competitive System-wide award. I congratulate all of them and thank them for everything they do to contribute to UTEP’s and our students’ success. “   

The regents made their selection in tenured, tenure-track and contingent categories, and each came with a $25,000 monetary prize. The academic prizes were valued at more than $2.6 million. The awards are among the largest in the nation that reward faculty performance. They also are among the most competitive.

Nominees endure a rigorous evaluation process that includes student, peer and external review. At every level, the candidates are assessed on their teaching performance to include classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes.

“The UT System and the Board of Regents believe educating young minds is paramount for the future of this great state and nation,” said UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa. “These awards honor those educators who have produced proven results and have had a great impact on our students.”