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UTSD Professor Among UT Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award Winners

Friday, July 12, 2013 - 1:10pm

Donna Warren-Morris, RDH, MEd

Donna Warren-Morris, RDH, MEd

Ten faculty members of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) – including Professor Donna Warren-Morris, RDH, MEd of the School of Dentistry – received UT System Board of Regents Outstanding Teaching Awards (ROTA) this week in Austin.

The awards are the highest honor bestowed by the Regents and recognize faculty members at UT System institutions who have demonstrated dedication to innovation and advancing excellence. Each winner will receive a $25,000 award and be showcased on UT System’s ROTA website

In addition to Warren-Morris, among the 38 overall who received awards were nine other UTHealth faculty members: Wenyaw Chan, PhD; Samer Fakhri, MD, FACS, FRCS(C); Steven J. Norris, PhD; Philip R. Orlander, MD; Bela Patel, MD; Gary C. Rosenfeld, PhD; Cathy Leffel Rozmus, PhD, RN; Susan Tortolero, PhD; and Margaret Uthman, MD.

The Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards are among the most competitive in the nation and one of the largest monetary teaching recognition programs in higher education.

“These are world-class educators who are critical to the success of UT health institutions and who are critical to the ultimate success of their students. And the students they mentor and teach will become this state’s future outstanding health care providers,” said Regents Chairman Gene Powell.

 “The UT Board has always been dedicated to cutting-edge research, but these awards demonstrate the Board’s further commitment to outstanding teaching. The combination of great research and great teaching will ensure the UT System continues to be a place of intellectual exploration, educational excellence and unparalleled opportunity.”

Because of the depth and breadth of educators across the UT System, the awards are among the nation’s most competitive, and the selection process is extremely rigorous, said UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa.

“Recognizing outstanding teaching is a major tenet of the UT System’s Framework for Advancing Excellence,” Cigarroa said. “We are deeply grateful to the Regents for creating this outstanding teaching award and for their ongoing commitment to support the very best educators in the health sciences. These outstanding teachers have an immeasurable impact on the health of our state and nation through their students who will be our future health care providers and scientists.”

ROTA recipients are vetted by colleagues, students and campus presidents before advancing to competition at the System level. Candidates from each institution then are evaluated by a panel of members of the UT Academy of Health Science Education.

In their evaluations of a candidate’s teaching performance, members of the review panel consider a range of activities and criteria, including classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes.

Established by the Board of Regents in 2008, the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards complement a wide range of efforts that underscore the Regents’ commitment to ensuring the UT System is a place of intellectual exploration and discovery, educational excellence and unparalleled opportunity.

Since the program began, the Regents have distributed $12 million in cash awards to faculty members who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and dedication to innovation.

In 2012, the awards were extended to include UT's health institutions for the first time, and three UT School of Dentistry faculty members were honored. They included Professor and Department of Orthodontics Chair Jeryl D. English, DDS, MS; Professor and Associate Dean for Research Jacqueline T. Hecht, PhD, MS; and Director of Informatics Muhammad F. Walji, PhD, an associate professor who will become associate dean for technology services and informatics on Aug. 1.