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Friday, May 30, 2008

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Faculty at UT Arlington, UT El Paso Win Innovations in Education Awards

AUSTIN – One faculty member used a computerized mannequin to simulate real-world emergency room scenarios in her nursing program; the other enlisted the aid of more than 100 community partners in El Paso to make service learning a part of the student experience.

And for their creative teaching approaches, Judy LeFlore of UT Arlington and Kathleen Staudt of UT El Paso were named this year’s winners of the University of Texas System’s Innovations in Education Awards.

The awards are presented annually to UT System faculty who produce cutting-edge teaching methods that have proven to be effective in classrooms and laboratories. Each award comes with a $5,000 prize.

“These professors highlight the innovative strategies that many of our faculty members demonstrate at each of our institutions throughout the System,” said Dr. Kenneth I. Shine, UT System chancellor ad interim. “We congratulate them for their efforts and hope that these creative approaches, which already have produced impressive results, serve as shining examples for future curricula across Texas and the country.”

The awards, funded by the UT System Chancellor’s Council, were presented at the group’s annual meeting in Austin on May 2.

“We are delighted to offer these awards to very deserving individuals who are the embodiment of fine teaching. We believe that there are many, many fine examples of extraordinary effort in the faculty ranks across our system and the Chancellor’s Council is pleased to recognize these achievements,” said Julius Glickman of Houston, chairman of the Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee.

Faculty winners and their recognized programs are:

Judy LeFlore, Ph.D., director of the Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program at UT Arlington: LeFlore applied simulation technology to recreate a “real-world” operating room or intensive care unit to train individuals and teams to deal with high-risk, low-volume medical emergencies. In some cases, LeFlore used a computerized mannequin or human patient simulator (HPS), to simulate emergency situations and in others she incorporated scripted actors to portray actual patients. These simulated clinical environments encourage students to become active participants, think critically and become part of the educational experience.

Kathleen Staudt, Ph.D., professor, Department of Political Science/director of the Center for Civic Engagement, UT El Paso:  Through collaboration with more than 100 community partners in the El Paso region, Staudt has helped transform UTEP faculty members’ teaching strategies and reshape students’ learning experiences. In the past 10 years, the Center of Civic Engagement has contributed close to 300,000 hours of community service, giving students the opportunities to earn partial credit in programs such as tutoring adults in English as a Second Language courses and making presentations to middle- and high school students on voting, pathways to college and financial literacy.

About the Chancellor’s Council:
Founded in 1965 by the UT System Board of Regents and campus development leaders, the Chancellor’s Council encourages continuous public and private support of Texas higher education and advances the mission and goals of the UT System and its institutions. Besides the Innovations in Education Awards, the council also funds the Health Fellows program, which aims to enhance faculty collaborations and achievements, and various communications projects.

About the University of Texas System
The UT System is one of the nation’s largest higher education systems, with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $10.7 billion (FY 2008) including $2.3 billion in research funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Student enrollment exceeded 194,000 in the 2007 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's health care professionals annually. With more than 81,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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