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Two from UTA receive UT System Board of Regents Outstanding Teaching Award

Tuesday, July 2, 2019 • Media Contact: Herb Booth

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Two University of Texas at Arlington faculty members earned the UT System Board of Regents Outstanding Teaching Award, which recognizes educators who best exemplify excellence, innovation and a commitment to student success.

Amy Austin

Amy Austin

Amy Austin, assistant professor of instruction in the Department of Modern Language in the College of Liberal Arts, and Holly Hungerford-Kresser, associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education, are among the 27 faculty members from all 14 UT System academic and health institutions to receive the honor.

UTA President Vistasp Karbhari said the two educators exemplify the excellence in teaching and mentorship that defines faculty at The University of Texas at Arlington.

“I’m thrilled that Professors Austin and Hungerford-Kresser are being honored with the Regents Outstanding Teaching Award this year,” Karbhari said. “This is a tremendous recognition of their commitment to excellence and in truly enabling our students to have transformative experiences while they are at UTA.

“They join a very distinguished group of faculty who are setting the bar high for all of us with their dedication to student learning and success, enablement of their dreams and ability to mentor students to reach for the stars and do much more than they thought possible. I’m extremely proud of these outstanding faculty and deeply grateful for what they and the rest of our tremendous faculty are enabling for our students every single day.”

Holly Hungerford-Kresser

Holly Hungerford-Kresser

The $25,000 awards for each recipient 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 of teaching performance, who focus on the candidates’ classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes.

“These educators are dedicated to continually looking for new and better ways to inspire students to learn and succeed,” said Kevin Eltife, UT System Board of Regents chairman. “And they’re ensuring the next generation, whether they be teachers, scientists or health care providers, is armed with passion and knowledge. Their contributions are immeasurable.”

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

“This awards program is an investment in both faculty and students, because when it comes to student success—and subsequently real-world success—recruiting and retaining great faculty is the key,” UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken said. “I’m grateful to the Board of Regents for its continued commitment to great teaching, and I’m thankful that these exceptional educators are serving our students and Texas.”

Austin, who earned her doctorate in Spanish from Emory University, specializes in medieval and early modern peninsular literature. She strives to inspire students through hands-on, innovative instruction.

Her research focuses on the practices and theories of medieval reading, mysticism and spiritual constructions, visual studies, and theater and spectatorship. Most recently, she co-edited Ramon Llull and His Legacy (1232-1316) and published "Love of Language as the Language of Love: Image, Reading and Translatio Studii et Imperii in Ramon Llull's (1232-1316) Arbre de filosofia d'amor (1298)" in the journal eHumanista.

Hungerford-Kresser earned her doctorate in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in language and literacy studies from the University of Texas. She was originally a high school teacher but decided she could make a better impact on the field of education through teacher education, she said.

Her specialty is pedagogy and practice as it connects to underserved populations in K-12 schools and higher education. Her research focuses on the intersection of literacy education and college and career readiness.

Hungerford-Kresser won the 2018 UTA College of Education Teaching Award and the 2009 J. Michael Parker Award from the National Reading Conference.

The 2019 recipients will be presented a certificate and medallion during the Board of Regents meeting in Austin on Aug. 14. A luncheon will be held in their honor in conjunction with the meeting.

About The University of Texas System

For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 14 institutions, an enrollment of nearly 240,000 students and an operating budget of $19.5 billion (FY 2019), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 60,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and almost two-thirds of its health professional degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and -affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 8.2 million outpatient visits and 1.6 million hospital days last year. Across UT institutions, research and development expenditures total $2.9 billion—the second-highest among U.S. public higher education systems—and the UT System is regularly ranked among the top 10 most innovative universities in the world. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty—including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies—and more than 83,000 health care professionals, researchers and support staff.