Honoring Outstanding Teachers

photo of award recipients

Last week, in partnership with the Office of Faculty Advancement, I had the honor of hosting the 2018 University Awards Ceremony. The ceremony honors recipients of four awards: the Sturgill Award, the Kirwan Memorial Prize, the Inclusive Excellence Awards and the Outstanding Teaching Awards.

The Sturgill Award is named in honor of William B. Sturgill, who continuously contributed to higher education in Kentucky through his gifts and service. The Kirwan Memorial Prize recognizes its namesakes' collaborative research efforts, as well as Albert Kirwan's endeavors at creating an environment at UK that promoted high-quality research and scholarship. The Inclusive Excellence awards recognize the accomplishments of individuals and academic or professional units that demonstrate a sustained commitment to diversity and inclusion through campus and community involvement and exemplary leadership. The Provost’s Outstanding Teaching Awards annually recognize faculty and graduate teaching assistants who demonstrate special dedication and outstanding performance in the classroom or laboratory.

Nearly 100 community members joined us as we honored individuals who, through their work in research, service, and education, are helping us meet the ambitious goals in our Strategic Plan.  Just last week, I had the honor of presenting the Otis A. Singletary Outstanding Senior Award to two of our outstanding graduating students. I was pleased with the timing of these two ceremonies, which provided the opportunity to honor those who every day nurture and fuel the accomplishments of students through the Provost’s Outstanding Teaching Awards.

Last week, President Capilouto mentioned in his blog that Gallup. Inc. and their partners have identified six student experiences that graduates say best prepared them for life beyond college. 

The top three factors were: (1) a professor who inspired them to learn; (2) professors who cared about students’ personal well-being; and (3) a mentor.

Indeed, faculty members are on the front lines of student success. They position our students, as graduates, to succeed in their careers and communities. 

I was also impressed by the diversity of disciplines reflected in our award winners. That range speaks to the breadth and depth that distinguishes the University of Kentucky. But, of course, no matter the discipline, each recipient shares something of lasting importance; the art of great teaching transcends any single discipline.

Albert Einstein said that “it is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”

I thoroughly enjoyed honoring our recipients for the skill, diligence, and care with which they have done just that: awakened joy in creative expression and knowledge among our students. This work is at the core of our institution, and it is one of our fundamental purposes as a university.

Please join me in congratulating this year’s award winners.

University of Kentucky 2018 Outstanding Teaching Awards, Faculty

  • Roger Brown, Department of Agricultural Economics, College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment
  • Lynn Phillips, Department of Geography, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Bradley Plaster, Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Arts & Sciences
  • C. Ray Archer, Department of Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Christine Goble, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Wendy Liu, Department of Finance and Quantitative Methods, Gatton College of Business and Economics
  • Trenika Mitchell, Department of Pharmacy Practice & Science, College of Pharmacy

University of Kentucky 2018 Outstanding Teaching Awards, Teaching Assistants

  • Lauren Copeland, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Alex Denison, Department of Political Science, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Rachel Petrik, Department of Mathematics, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Annie Scott, Department of Modern & Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures, College of Arts & Sciences