U.S. Professors of the Year Award Winners Announced

Professors of music theory, Mexican-American studies, Chemistry, and Physics represent this year’s recipients of the U.S. Professor of the Year Award. The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching announced this year’s winners early this morning. Among those honored this year are four national winners and 35 state winners.

Here are this year’s four national Professor of the Year Award recipients:

Brian Alegant, Professor of Music Theory, Oberlin College

In Dr. Alegant’s own words:

“My earliest pedagogical experiments were inspired by the writings of higher education leaders Ken Bain, Dee Fink, Peter Elbow and Wilbert McKeachie. I stopped lecturing, embraced the praxis of backwards course design, abandoned quizzes and exams in favor of self-designed projects, and incorporated revision, self-reflection and self-assessment.”

Outstanding Master’s Universities and Colleges Professor

Stephanie Alvarez, Associate Professor of Mexican-American Studies, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

In Dr. Alvarez’s own words:

“My students have played a key role in documenting and disseminating the history of the bracero and migrant farmworker in the Río Grande Valley as well as the story of Chicana feminist author and theorist Gloria Anzaldúa, a Valley native and graduate of our institution who is largely unrecognized by the local population.”

Outstanding Community Colleges Professor

Amina Khalifa El-Ashmawy, Professor of Chemistry, Collin College

In Dr. El-Ashmawy’s own words:

“A tremendous challenge for any chemistry instructor is overcoming students’ fears of an abstract science. Learning requires trust and a safe environment where students can practice, make mistakes, explore ideas and hone their skills. The safety of my classroom fosters confidence, and having confidence is integral to student success.”

Outstanding Doctoral Research Universities Professor

Mats Selen, Professor of Physics, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

In Dr. Selen’s own words:

“Through [the Physics Van outreach] program, college students volunteer to perform science shows at elementary schools. It has been a huge success and has brought the joy of science to more than 100,000 children and nearly 15,000 teachers and parents.”

About the Program

The U.S. Professors of the Year program salutes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country—those who excel in teaching and positively influence the lives and careers of students. Sponsored by CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, it is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.

All undergraduate teachers in the United States, of any academic rank at any type of undergraduate institution, are eligible for the award. Entries are judged by top U.S. educators and other active participants in education.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education launched the awards program in 1981. That same year, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching began hosting the final round of judging, and in 1982, became the primary sponsor.

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