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Dr. Sheldon Ekland-Olson Receives 2012 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award

Sixty-five faculty members from institutions across The University of Texas System will be honored Wednesday (Aug. 22) by the UT System Board of Regents as recipients of the 2012 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. Our own Graduate Advisor and Rapoport Centennial Professor of Sociology, Dr. Sheldon Ekland-Olson is one.

From the Board of Regents:

“We have a responsibility as a Board to support, encourage and reward our most innovative and effective educators. These annual awards help advance a culture of excellence and recognize outstanding performance in the classroom and laboratory that directly benefit our students for life” Regents’ Chairman Gene Powell said.  “On behalf of the Board of Regents, I congratulate each of these dedicated professionals for their commitment to exceptional teaching and providing an education of the first class for our students.”

The $25,000 per teacher monetary awards, offered annually in recognition of faculty members at the nine academic and six health University of Texas System institutions who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction, are the Board of Regents’ highest teaching honor. The financial awards this year total more than $2.6 million for faculty at both the academic and health campuses and are among the largest in the nation for rewarding outstanding faculty performance. Given the depth and breadth of talent across the UT System, the awards program is also one of the nation’s most competitive.

Award nominees must demonstrate a clear commitment to teaching and a sustained ability to deliver excellence to the undergraduate learning experience. In the competition for the awards, faculty candidates were subjected to rigorous examination of their teaching performance over three years by campus and external examiners.

“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, M.D. “These awards honor those educators who have produced proven results and have had a great impact on our students.”

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

Lest we forget, only a year ago Sheldon was chosen by students in the College of Liberal Arts to receive the Jean Holloway Award for Teaching Excellence. The Jean Holloway Award recognizes individuals whose commitment to students has an effective, positive influence on the educational experience and lives of those they teach. Receiving the Jean Holloway Award is truly an honor, as the recipients are selected solely by a committee made up of students from the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences.

Dr. Ekland-Olson has been chosen because the student selection committee found he most reflects the purpose of the award: Dr. Ekland-Olson “demonstrates a warmth of spirit, a concern for society and the individual, and the ability to impart knowledge while challenging students to independent inquiry and creative thought, as well as respect for and understanding of the permanent values of our culture.” the http://www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/sociology/news/3846