UNC honors teaching awards recipients

February 07, 2005
CHAPEL HILL — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has selected recipients of the 2005 distinguished teaching awards, the highest campuswide recognition for teaching excellence.Honorees, chosen in nine separate categories, were recognized during halftime of the Feb. 3 Carolina-N.C. State men’s basketball game and will be honored by Chancellor James Moeser at a spring awards banquet.

For six of the nine categories, the University Teaching Awards Committee, affiliated with the Office of the Provost, chose this year’s winners from a record number of nominations submitted this past year. Separate committees in the College of Arts and Sciences chose winners of the Sanders and Sitterson awards, working closely with the campuswide committee. Fellows in the Johnston Scholarship Program nominated and selected the Johnston Award winners and also worked with the campuswide committee.

This year’s honorees come from the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of business, medicine and public health.

“Being on the Teaching Awards Committee is an uplifting experience because we learn about amazing teachers and the admiration and respect their students have for them,” said Jean DeSaix, chair of the committee and lecturer in the department of biology.

“Characteristically these instructors mentor students in and out of the classroom, are partners in learning with the students and have high expectations which they support their students in meeting. That so many students and university colleagues take time to submit nominations attests to the caring community in which teaching and learning take place on this campus.”

The Distinguished Teaching Awards for Post-Baccalaureate Instruction go to four full-time faculty members and carry a $5,000 stipend. Recipients are: Dr. David Leith of Chapel Hill, professor of environmental sciences and engineering; Dr. Joseph Eron of Chapel Hill, assistant professor of medicine; Dr. Gerald Postema of Cary, Cary C. Boshamer professor of philosophy and professor of law; and Dr. Mary Sheriff of Chapel Hill, chair and Daniel W. Patterson Distinguished Professor in the department of art. This award was first given by the university in 1995.

The Tanner Faculty Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching go to five faculty members and carry a $5,000 stipend. Recipients are: Dr. Frank Church of Chapel Hill, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine/biology; Dr. Marma DeGuzman of Chapel Hill, assistant professor of English; Dr. Sarah Shields of Chapel Hill, associate professor of history; Julie Fishell of Durham, adjunct assistant professor of dramatic art; and Dr. Geoffrey Sayre-McCord of Durham, professor and chair of the department of philosophy.

These awards were created in 1952 with a bequest by Kenneth S. Tanner, a member of the class of 1911, and his sister, Sara Tanner Crawford, establishing an endowment fund in memory of their parents, Lola Spencer and Simpson Bobo Tanner.

UNC expanded the scope of the Tanner faculty awards in 1990 to recognize excellence in the teaching of undergraduates by graduate teaching assistants. The Tanner Teaching Assistants’ Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching go to five graduate teaching assistants and carry a $1,000 stipend. Recipients are: Jay Elliott of Pittsboro, department of psychology; Kathryn Lofton of Carrboro, department of religious studies; Patrick Miller of Chapel Hill, department of philosophy; Yolonda Wilson of Durham, department of philosophy; and Matthew M. Woolley of Chapel Hill, department of economics.

The William C. Friday/Class of 1986 Award for Excellence in Teaching honors one undergraduate faculty member, who receives a $5,000 stipend. Dr. Lars Schoultz of Chapel Hill, Kenan professor of political science, is this year’s recipient.

This award, created with a gift from the class of 1986, honors full-time undergraduate faculty members who have exemplified excellence in inspirational teaching. Friday, the award’s namesake, served 30 years as UNC system president (until his retirement in 1986) and now is University Distinguished professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Dr. David Penn of Durham, associate professor of psychology, received the John L. Sanders Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and Service. The award, which carries a $5,000 stipend, recognizes excellence in the teaching, advising and mentoring of undergraduate students in a manner consistent with the life and values of Sanders, longtime director of the UNC Institute of Government, now part of the School of Government. The award was created in 1995 by Ben M. Jones III to honor Sanders.

Dr. John McGowan of Chapel Hill, professor of English, received the J. Carlyle Sitterson Freshman Teaching Award, which goes to a faculty member teaching first-year students and carries a $5,000 stipend.

This award was created in 1998 by the family of the late J. Carlyle Sitterson to recognize excellence in freshman teaching by a tenured or tenure-track faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences. Sitterson was a Kenan professor of history and UNC chancellor from 1966 to 1972.

Dr. Clayton Wheeler of Chapel Hill, professor and chair emeritus of the department of dermatology, has received the Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement, which acknowledges “teaching beyond the classroom.” Created in 1997, this award carries a $1,000 stipend.

Winners, who each receive a $7,500 stipend and a bronze medallion, will be honored at a luncheon this spring.

The Johnston Teaching Excellence Award goes to two faculty members for excellence in undergraduate teaching. Each recipient receives $5,000. Recipients are: C.J. Skender of Raleigh, adjunct professor in the Kenan-Flagler Business School; and Dr. Paul Kropp of Chapel Hill, professor of chemistry. Created in 1991, these awards are funded by the James M. Johnston Scholarship Program, which provides need-based scholarships to the university.

This year’s UNC-Chapel Hill nominee for the UNC Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching is Dr. Trudier Harris of Chapel Hill, Sitterson professor of the department of English. Established by the Board of Governors in April 1994 to underscore the importance of teaching and to reward good teaching across the UNC system, the awards are given annually to a tenured faculty member from each UNC campus and will be formally announced at the March Board of Governors meeting.

– 30 –

This news release was researched and written by Susan Phillips of UNC News Services.

Contact: Mike McFarland, director of University Communications, (919) 962-8593

For further information please contact Emily Smith by email at ejsmith@email.unc.edu