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Nine UT Arlington faculty members recognized for teaching excellence

News Release — 19 August 2009


Media contact: Kristin Sullivan, (817) 272-2761,

ARLINGTON - Nine faculty members of The University of Texas at Arlington have been selected as the inaugural recipients of the Board of Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards.

They are among 73 faculty members from nine UT System academic institutions to receive the new honor and share in $2 million in awards.

"These awards demonstrate our commitment to maintaining excellence in our classrooms and send a clear message to our campus communities that we value exceptional performance and innovation," said James R. Huffines, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents.

Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt, UT Arlington provost and vice president of academic affairs, applauded the University's faculty and said the awards recognize that "we have exceptional faculty who care about their educational mission."

The awards carry a prize of $15,000 to $30,000 depending on level of experience and are believed to be among the highest in the country for rewarding outstanding undergraduate faculty performance and innovation.

Recipients from UT Arlington are:


  • Dr. Norman H. Cobb, an associate professor of social work. Cobb has earned accolades from graduate and undergraduate students in the School of Social Work. He is a six-time winner of UT Arlington's Torgerson Award for teaching excellence, chosen by graduate students and the 2007 recipient of the BSW Teaching Award, given by UT Arlington undergraduates.


  • Dr. Minerva Cordero-Epperson, an associate professor of mathematics. She garnered a $3 million grant this spring from the National Science Foundation focused on building interest among junior high and high school students in math. The program places graduate students on three Arlington public school district campuses to teach math.


  • Dr. Mary Lynn Crow, professor of curriculum and instruction. Crow has won each of the University's three major teaching awards and numerous others. The licensed clinical psychologist has been involved in improving education from elementary to graduate school through research, associations and community involvement.


  • Dr. Doreen Elliott, professor of social work and Distinguished Teaching Professor. Elliott brings a global approach to her students. A former teacher at the University of Wales, she chairs the Council on Social Work Education's global education commission. Her classes range from Introduction to Social Work to graduate courses in advance practice.


  • Dr. Jennifer R. Gray, professor of nursing and associate dean of the School of Nursing's doctoral program. Gray has provided nursing education workshops in the Dominican Republic and Tanzania. Gray, UT Arlington's Hazel M. and George W. Jay Professor, helped collect information on health care and community needs in Uganda in 2007.


  • Dr. Elizabeth Morrow, professor of music and a cellist. Morrow focuses her master classes on teaching musical style and principles of relaxation and balance, which allow her students freedom of musical expression. Morrow founded the Texas Cello Academy and has toured extensively as a recitalist in North America, Europe and Asia. She can be heard on Centaur Records.


  • Dr. Larry P. Nelson, an assistant professor of kinesiology. Nelson puts fun in fitness with projects such as the Dancing Classrooms North Texas program for fitness and a UT Arlington course on Teaching Games for Understanding. He is involved in Tarrant County Youth Collaboration Programs as well as service-learning programs and intervention projects at area schools.


  • Dr. Jimmy Rogers, senior lecturer of chemistry and biochemistry. Rogers researches chemistry education and has received the Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Outstanding Academic Adviser Faculty Award. The undergraduate adviser also sponsors the Maverick Chess Club.


  • Dr. David J. Silva, a professor of linguistics and vice provost for academic affairs. Silva is the founding president of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society chapter at UT Arlington. He is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers and recipient of the Gertrude Golladay Memorial Award for Outstanding Teaching.

UT System regents established the awards in August 2008 as the latest in a series of UT System-launched initiatives aimed at fostering innovative approaches to teaching, research and commercialization endeavors at all 15 UT System institutions.

At the time, regents authorized $15 million, $10 million of which was to be used for the teaching awards ($5 million at UT Austin and $5 million at the eight other System institutions). The remaining $5 million was reserved to create a research commercialization and technology transfer center at UT Austin.

The teaching awards programs and the commercialization center will each distribute $1 million in awards over five years beginning this year.

Candidates for the teaching awards were nominated at the campus level and evaluated on several criteria, including student and peer evaluations; teaching portfolio (which includes pedagogical innovation and teaching objectives); and student learning outcomes.


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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.