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Outstanding educators recognized by UT System Board of Regents

Recipients of the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award will each receive $25,000

AUSTIN—For the 10th year in a row, the University of Texas System Board of Regents is honoring the best of the best.


Twenty-seven faculty members from UT’s 14 academic and health institutions have been named recipients of the 2018 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. They each will receive $25,000 in recognition of their commitment to student success.


Over the last decade, Regents have awarded more than $19 million to 700 UT educators for delivering the highest quality of instruction in the classroom, lab, field and online.


“We are indebted to these educators who exemplify great teaching on every level,” Board of Regents Chairman Sara Martinez Tucker said. “These are educators, researchers and health care professionals who – no matter how long they’ve been teaching – never stop thinking about new and innovative ways to enhance the learning experience.”


Recipients of the 2018 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards will be recognized Aug. 9 at a reception held in conjunction with the Board of Regents meeting in Austin. Honorees include:


Academic institutions


  • Frank Foss, UT Arlington
  • Regina Urban, UT Arlington
  • Erika Bsumek, UT Austin
  • Mark Daniels, UT Austin
  • Gregg Dieckmann, UT Dallas
  • Peter Ingrao, UT Dallas
  • Giulio Francia, UT El Paso
  • Irma Montelongo, UT El Paso
  • Maria Avalos, UT Permian Basin
  • Kurt Verlei, UT Permian Basin
  • Dagoberto Ramirez, UT Rio Grande Valley
  • Cory Wimberly, UT Rio Grande Valley
  • Jackie Cuevas, UT San Antonio
  • Jennifer Dilley, UT San Antonio
  • Kerrie Ambort-Clark, UT Tyler
  • Sean Butler, UT Tyler


Health institutions


  • James de Lemos, UT Southwestern
  • Dorothy Sendelbach, UT Southwestern
  • Yolanda Davila, UT Medical Branch
  • Victor Sierpina, UT Medical Branch
  • Ryan Quock, UTHealth Houston
  • Susan Ruppert, UTHealth Houston
  • Robert Esterl, Jr., UT Health San Antonio
  • Ellen Kraig, UT Health San Antonio
  • Russell Broaddus, UT MD Anderson
  • Pierre McCrea, UT MD Anderson
  • Amy Tvinnereim, UT Health Science Center at Tyler


The Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards are among the largest in the nation for rewarding outstanding faculty performance.


Nominees undergo a series of rigorous evaluations by students, peer faculty and external reviewers. The review panels consider a range of activities and criteria in their evaluations of a candidate's teaching performance, including classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes.


After a career spanning more than 20 years in both K-12 and higher education, 2018 recipient Maria Avalos, Ph.D., joined the faculty in the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling at UT Permian Basin in 2013, where she teaches undergraduate courses in psychology and bilingual education.


“I am honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award,” Avalos said. “It is truly a blessing to wake up every day and serve in a role that I love, with students I cherish, and at an institution that cares about the personal and professional growth of all individuals.”


For the past 24 years, UT Health San Antonio’s Robert Esterl, M.D., has trained countless medical students, and his mentorship convinced then-medical student Patrick Nguyen not only to pursue a career in surgery, but also to join the faculty at UT Health San Antonio after graduating. Nguyen now teaches alongside his former mentor in the position of associate professor at UT Health San Antonio and chief of surgery at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Westover Hills Hospital.


“Dr. Esterl has played an instrumental role in my own development as an academic surgeon focused on medical education,” Nguyen said. “None of this would have been possible without his guidance.”


About The University of Texas System
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking basic, applied and clinical 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 14 institutions and a projected enrollment of more than 234,000 students, the UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates approximately two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public institutions in Texas. The UT System’s operating budget for FY 2018 is $18.3 billion, funded in part by $3.6 billion in sponsored programs from federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 20,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and nearly 80,000 health care professionals, researchers, student advisors and support staff, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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