UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers releases book, announces new inductees


Little Orange Book
Little Orange Book

AUSTIN – Every day, students across Texas, the United States and the world step onto university campuses looking to find their passion, expand their knowledge and ultimately pursue their dreams.

Many are in need of guidance, some inspiration and others a partner with which to collaborate.

Ensuring that these students have exceptional teachers prepared to help mold potential into success is critical and where “The Little Orange Book” – the result of a collaborative effort among members of The University of Texas System Academy of Distinguished Teachers – can help.

“Drawing on the experiences of current Academy members, it engages readers with secrets of the trade and practical advice for improving classroom effectiveness,” Academy President Brent Iverson said. “The plan is to provide every new faculty member a copy of The Little Orange Book when they are hired.”

Released yesterday, the text provides teachers across all levels of the education landscape with suggestions designed to fuel creativity, encourage innovation and enhance student outcomes. A compilation of vignettes, it spans a wide range of topics and teaching interests, including establishing safe learning spaces, developing curriculum, modeling the best teachers and leaving individual legacies.

“Our distinguished faculty are dedicated to finding ways to improve teaching – sharing the knowledge and experience they possess with educators around the world just makes sense,” said Pedro Reyes, Ph.D., Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. “The mission of the Academy is not only to recognize our great teachers, but also to bring them together and provide opportunities where they can share best practices.”

The Academy of Distinguished Teachers, the only system-wide academy of its kind, was created in 2012 to recognize the most outstanding educators at UT’s nine academic institutions. Members of the Academy serve as an advocacy group dedicated to enhancing teaching, fostering innovation in the classroom and promoting interdisciplinary perspectives on education.

“As a system of higher education responsible for educating more than 200,000 students, our teachers are among our greatest assets. Their positive influence is vital to student success,” said UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven.  “I commend the outstanding effort of the Academy in putting together The Little Orange Book – It is certain to become a key resource for new and experienced faculty alike. In fact, I plan to keep a copy in arm’s length of my own desk.”

Four new professors will be inducted in the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at a ceremony April 29:  

  • Diana Dominguez is an associate professor of English at UT Brownsville, where she teaches primarily ancient to medieval literature, women's literature, sophomore introduction to literature and creative writing.
  • Mary McNaughton-Cassill is a professor of psychology at UT San Antonio. In her 20 years at UTSA, she has also served as the associate dean of Undergraduate Affairs, the interim director of the Teaching and Learning Center and is currently the co-chair of the UTSA Distinguished Teaching Academy.
  • Juan Noveron is a professor of chemistry at UT El Paso. Juan, who is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, is also the Provost’s Faculty Fellow-In-Residence at UTEP’s Office of Undergraduate Studies.
  • Larry Speck is the W. L. Moody, Jr. Centennial Professor in Architecture and a Distinguished Teaching Professor at UT Austin. Over the last 25 years his design work has won over 100 national, regional and local design awards.

For more information, visit the Academy of Distinguished Teachers website.

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 an enrollment of more than 214,000. 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 $15.6 billion (FY 2015) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With about 90,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state. For more information, visit www.utsystem.edu.

Background Materials