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Imparting Knowledge Through Innovative Instruction

Whether in traditional or virtual settings, UT Arlington professors devise imaginative approaches to deliver complex subject matter so students can become thoughtful citizens of the global community.

HEADS OF THE CLASS

Even teachers can earn gold stars for their work. In summer 2011 four English faculty members—Professors Ken Roemer and Stacy Alaimo and Senior Lecturers Laura Kopchick and Peggy Kulesz—received the UT System Board of Regents Outstanding Teaching Award.

The honor goes to faculty members at UT System academic institutions who demonstrate extraordinary classroom performance and innovation at the undergraduate level. Five other UT Arlington professors also received the award.

"These professors represent the heart of our institution," President James D. Spaniolo says. "They are respected for their academic expertise and their commitment to engaging students in a way that helps them reach their full potential."

Dr. Roemer is a Piper Professor (2011) and member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers (1998) and Academy of Distinguished Scholars (2004). His research interests include utopian literature and American Indian literature.

Dr. Alaimo has taught courses on topics such as the history of American literature, feminist theory, cultural studies, and environmentalism. She was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers in 2010.

Kopchick teaches creative writing classes that provide opportunities for students to stretch their critical faculties and discover their strengths. She founded the UTA Undergraduate Creative Awards.

Dr. Kulesz is currently studying 19th century hymns and gospel songs to analyze how they reflect and influence notions of American identity. She received the Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2007.

UT Arlington's Asia Executive MBA program

GLOBAL IMPACT

There are more than 1,800 reasons to call UT Arlington's Asia Executive MBA program a success. That's the impressive number of graduates the popular offering has produced to date.

The brainchild of College of Business Dean Daniel Himarios, the Asia EMBA is now in its 10th year and offers degrees to students in Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Taiwan. Although other American universities have begun similar programs in China, none have grown as rapidly as UT Arlington's, and interest continues to rise.

"UTA has a good brand reputation," says Asia EMBA alumnus Jiang Pan, senior director of operations for Walmart China. "I believe learning with UTA helps me better understand American culture and people."

David Mack, assistant dean in the College of Business, believes the program's worldwide impact is invaluable.

"It gives us a global reach that no other university in the United States has," Dr. Mack says. "The program also helps to foster good relations and a mutual understanding of our common interests and the value of working together in the global workplace."

DEGREES OF DISTANCE

Accessible from anywhere in the world, UT Arlington's award-winning online learning programs are attracting record numbers of students—from as far away as Africa and as nearby as campus residence halls.

Karen Elliott '11 took advantage of the University's virtual classrooms to complete a master's degree while directing Africa operations for the Florida-based Rafiki Foundation, a nonprofit ministry with orphanages and vocational training centers in Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, and other countries.

"I travel three times a year to Africa for two to three weeks at a time, so I needed a program that would let me work on the degree from a distance," says Elliott, who earned a Master of Education degree in curriculum and literacy studies.

About 300 UT Arlington instructors teach 700 different classes—from core courses to degree and certification programs—to students through the Center for Distance Education. In fall 2011 nearly 14,000 students enrolled in at least one online class, and about 9,300 had fully online schedules.

Instructors can choose formats that meet their class needs, such as the Blackboard learning management system, blogs, discussion boards, Skype sessions, and Second Life. Online students also receive services from the library, advisers, the Career Center, and more via phone and the Internet.

Karen Elliott
Colleen Fitzgerald

AWAKENING SLEEPING LANGUAGES

Sometimes language has a religious aspect.

"For many Native American communities, language is from the creator," says Colleen Fitzgerald, professor and chair of the Department of Linguistics and TESOL. "It is sacred."

She and her students work with Native American tribes in Oklahoma—home to 39 indigenous Native American languages—to document and revitalize the languages for the next generation. She teaches her students that ethics and respect are essential when communicating with tribal elders.

"We work with tribal members to breathe new life into the languages," Dr. Fitzgerald says. "The languages aren't dead; they are sleeping."

Service learning is an integral component of her classes. Students may record conversations with the 80 fluent Chickasaw speakers for an online dictionary, develop teaching materials for youth programs, or assist a language committee in creating new words for modern terms. 

A National Science Foundation grant and iEngage grant from the Office of Graduate Studies support the projects.

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