8 Faculty Receive Regents’ Top Awards

By Daniel Perez

UTEP News Service

A combination of expertise, enthusiasm and expectations of excellence are among the factors that earned eight UTEP faculty members the highest accolade from The University of Texas System Board of Regents.

The Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards (ROTAs) were presented to 63 faculty members from throughout the system’s nine academic institutions during an Aug. 21 ceremony in UT Austin’s Etter-Harbin Alumni Center.

The 2013 recipients from The University of Texas at El Paso are Charles R. Boehmer, Ph.D., associate professor of political science; Ann Gabbert, Ph.D., associate director for student support and lecturer in the Entering Student Program; Gaspare M. Genna, Ph.D., associate professor of political science; John Hadjimarcou, Ph.D., professor and chair of marketing and management; Dave McIntyre, senior lecturer of art; James M. Salvador, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry; Cigdem V. Sirin, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science; and Ron Wagler, Ph.D., assistant professor of teacher education.From top left: Gaspare M. Genna, Ph.D., associate professor of political science; Charles R. Boehmer, Ph.D., associate professor of political science; UTEP President Diana Natalicio; Cigdem V. Sirin, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science; John Hadjimarcou, Ph.D., professor and chair of marketing and management. Bottom row left: Ron Wagler, Ph.D., assistant professor of teacher education; Dave McIntyre, senior lecturer of art; Ann Gabbert, Ph.D., associate director for student support and lecturer in the Entering Student Program; James M. Salvador, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry. Photo by Holly Reed PhotographyFrom top left: Gaspare M. Genna, Ph.D., associate professor of political science; Charles R. Boehmer, Ph.D., associate professor of political science; UTEP President Diana Natalicio; Cigdem V. Sirin, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science; John Hadjimarcou, Ph.D., professor and chair of marketing and management. Bottom row left: Ron Wagler, Ph.D., assistant professor of teacher education; Dave McIntyre, senior lecturer of art; Ann Gabbert, Ph.D., associate director for student support and lecturer in the Entering Student Program; James M. Salvador, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry. Photo by Holly Reed Photography

The awards are among the most competitive nationwide and one of the nation’s largest monetary teaching recognition programs in higher education. Peers, students and external reviewers rigorously evaluated the faculty nominees on an assortment of classroom criteria such as curricula quality, student performance, subject expertise and innovative course development.

After a meal that included a duet of beef tenderloin and a jumbo lump crab cake, each honoree received a medallion, commemorative certificate and an unrestricted $25,000 check. The Regents made a similar presentation to 39 recipients from the system’s six health institutions last month. The Regents created the awards in 2008 to recognize extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction. The Board has given $12 million since the program started.

“We happily celebrate the selection of these eight UTEP faculty members who join the proud ranks of previous Outstanding Teaching Award winners on our campus,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “This recognition by the UT System Board of Regents is a testament to the remarkable work that is being done by our dedicated faculty members, who so positively impact the lives of our students and the surrounding region. We thank the Regents for creating this prestigious award that honors teaching excellence, and we congratulate this year’s winners on this well-deserved recognition of their success.”  

The recipients were grateful for the professional acknowledgement. Many said they were humbled by the honor and shared the credit with their University colleagues and talented graduate and undergraduate students who have helped them through their years of service.

Charles R. Boehmer earned his bachelor’s in international relations and political science from West Chester (Penn.) University, his master’s in political theory and international political economy from the University of Delaware, and his doctorate in international relations from Penn State University. He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses at UTEP since 2002 with a focus on international relations.

“Winning a UT Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award is wonderful affirmation that my sophisticated teaching methods and high expectations result in significant learning for my students,” Boehmer said. “It is an honor to be recognized with this award, and one that I cherish.”

Ann Gabbert received her bachelor’s in the history of science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and her master’s and doctorate in history from UTEP. She started working at the University in 2000 and teaches a history-based UNIV 1301 Seminar in Critical Inquiry, an upper division women's studies/history course, and a graduate-level history research seminar. As associate director of the Entering Student Program, she develops and administers learning communities that link classes for students to develop social and academic connections.

“During the nomination process, I received several letters from former students illustrating the ways that my teaching had made a difference in their lives, not only in college but beyond,” she said. “Those words validated my commitment to my students and the profession of teaching, and their outpouring of support was an honor in and of itself.”

Gaspare M. Genna received his bachelor’s in political science and biology from the University of California at San Diego, a masters in political science from San Diego State University, another master’s in political economy and his doctorate in political science from Claremont Graduate University, about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. The multilingual professor has worked at the University since 2005.

“The foundation of my teaching is in educating students so that they become intrinsically motivated to learn,” Genna said. “I follow a teaching philosophy and techniques that seek to develop the proven conditions that promote learning for the inherent satisfaction of learning. I do this through the creation of an environment highlighted by competence, autonomy and responsiveness with the aim to develop learners who will carry the ignited fire of inquiry long after graduation.”

John Hadjimarcou earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and his master’s in business administration from West Virginia University and his doctorate in marketing from Kent State University in Ohio. Other than three years as a visiting professor in Finland and Cyprus, he has worked at UTEP since 1994. Hadjimarcou has the Frank and Wilma Hanley Endowed Professorship in Business Administration and is chair of his department.

“I believe that teaching is an active process that involves experimentation, evaluation, accountability and change. Recognizing that some things don’t work and having the willingness to change eventually will lead to good teaching. This is a simple guiding principle that impacts everything I do as a teacher,” Hadjimarcou said.

Dave McIntyre receivedhis Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Tulsa and master’s of education in curriculum from UTEP. He has worked at the University since 1988. In addition to teaching art education classes, he exhibits his art and makes professional presentations throughout the state. 

“At UTEP, I try to provide as many real-world experiences and classroom situations as possible for students that will prepare them for their own classrooms,” McIntyre said. “Upon their graduation, I utilize my network of area arts contacts to steer students toward their first job applications and interviews. My goal beyond teaching my students is to assist them in taking the first important step toward a successful career in art education.”

James M. Salvador earned his bachelor’s in chemistry from UTEP and his doctorate in chemistry from New Mexico State University. He has worked at UTEP since 1992 teaching organic chemistry. He also has served as the interim director of UTEP’s Center for Effective Teaching and Learning.

“For more than 20 years I have been developing software that recognizes 3-D molecular models to help students learn organic chemistry through homework and class exercises,” Salvador said.

Cigdem V. Sirin earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from Bogazici University in Istanbul, and her doctorate in international relations and comparative politics from Texas A&M University. She has taught politics, foreign policy and global security at UTEP since 2009. Her main areas of interest are international relations and political psychology.

“My pedagogical approach to teaching revolves around my goal to evoke inspired learning, which entails motivating my students to feel that they want to – rather than have to – learn. When students want to learn, long-term learning outcomes are more effective and sometimes even life changing. This is what most motivates and inspires me to continue striving to grow as an educator and have a positive impact on my students’ learning experiences and lives,” Sirin said.

Ron Wagler received his bachelor’s in biology from Southern Illinois University, and his master’s in zoology and doctorate in environmental science from Oklahoma State University. He joined the UTEP faculty in 2008 and teaches science and environmental education courses. When not in the classroom, he conducts science education research and maintains the Living Arthropod Education Laboratory.

“As a science education professor, I am focused on providing my students with the knowledge and skills they will need to create a positive science classroom where every one of their future students are held to high expectations and achieve maximum learning,” Wagler said. “In this ‘safe’ classroom space, I model and allow my students to create and teach hands-on scientific inquiry learning activities with the awareness that mistakes and setbacks are opportunities to learn,” Wagler said.