The University of Texas System Board of Regents awarded nearly $1.6 million to outstanding faculty members from each of UT’s nine academic institutions Wednesday night in one of the nation’s largest monetary teaching recognition programs in higher education.
The Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards (ROTA) was established in 2008 for academic institutions and in 2012 for health institutions. Since the program began, the Board of Regents has distributed $12 million in cash awards to faculty members who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and dedication to innovation.
Each of the 63 faculty honorees receive an unrestricted check for $25,000. Current and past honorees are showcased on the UT System’s ROTA website .
"I'm very proud to be part of a university system that acknowledges the importance of teaching,” said James Karboski, a ROTA recipient who is a clinical professor in the College of Pharmacy at UT Austin. “Guiding my students through a new concept and seeing the look in their eyes as they grasp it is an incredible thing. I am truly honored to receive the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award."
An additional 39 faculty members from UT’s six health institutions were honored in July, bringing the Regents’ 2013 financial commitment for honoring outstanding teachers to almost $2.6 million.
“Our faculty members are the heart and soul of our institutions, and they are the most critical factor in student success,” Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell said. “The Board created the ROTA program because of our respect and appreciation for these outstanding teachers, and because we want to make sure our institutions continue to be places of educational excellence.”
ROTA recipients are vetted by colleagues, students and campus presidents at their own institutions before advancing to competition at the System level. Then, candidates from each institution are evaluated by a selection committee of distinguished educators from both in and outside the UT System.
In their evaluations of a candidate’s teaching performance, members of the selection committee consider a range of activities and criteria, including classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes.
Because of the depth and breadth of educators across the UT System, the awards are among the nation’s most competitive and the selection process is extremely rigorous, UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa said.
“We are deeply grateful to the Regents for their ongoing commitment to honor our very best and most dedicated faculty,” Cigarroa said. “These awards recognize the immeasurable impact teachers have on our students, who will shape the future of our communities across Texas and the nation.”
About The University of Texas System
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System  is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2012 enrollment of roughly 216,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $13.9 billion (FY 2013) including $3.1 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.