UT Regents Name Professor as Outstanding Teacher

Tuesday, Aug 25, 2020 Valerie Hill

A School of Social Work professor has won the University of Texas System’s highest award for excellence in instruction and commitment to students.

Ericka Robinson-Freeman, an associate professor in practice, is among two UTA professors and 27 faculty members in the UT System to win the 2020 Board of Regents Outstanding Teaching Award. Stephanie Rasmussen, associate professor of accounting in the UTA College of Business, also won the award.REGENTS-Award-Story-Ericka-Robinson-Freeman

“Ericka and Stephanie are exemplary members of the UT Arlington faculty because they always put our students first and are dedicated to the University’s true mission: the advancement of knowledge and the pursuit of excellence,” said Teik C. Lim, UTA interim president. “Their commitment to student success makes UTA a better place and makes me proud to work with them.”

The 2020 Outstanding Teaching Award recipients were recognized with a video shown during the Board of Regents meeting on August 20. Each awardee also is given a certificate, medallion and $25,000 in recognition of their impact on students and their institutions.

“These awards demonstrate the Board’s appreciation for exceptional educators at each of the 14 UT institutions,” Board of Regents Chairman Kevin P. Eltife said.

The Outstanding Teaching Awards were established in 2008. They are given annually to educators at UT System campuses who best exemplify excellence, innovation and a commitment to student success.

The Awards are among the largest in the nation given for outstanding faculty performance. Winners are chosen based on rigorous evaluations by students, peer 

faculty and external reviewers, who focus on the candidates’ classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes.

Overall, the Board of Regents has presented more than $20 million to more than 700 UT System educators.

Scott Ryan, dean of the School of Social Work, said Robinson-Freeman is “passionate about assisting students in developing social work skills.”

“She is adept at applying techniques in the classroom to draw students into the learning process,” he said.

Robinson-Freeman credits the education she received as an undergrad at UTA for preparing her for her different careers, first as a communications professional and later as a Social Worker.

“I approach working with my students and being in the classroom like I do my work as a social worker,” she said. “I seek to build rapport, establish a relationship and empower my students. Fostering trust and eliciting encouragement works wonders in both conveying content and retaining knowledge.”

UTA Office of Communications Writers Herb Booth and Elizabeth Couch contributed to this report.