Nominations have begun for the annual University of Memphis Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award. Students and faculty have until Friday Nov. 15 to submit their nominations for whoever they feel should receive the award.
Melinda Jones, co-chair of the UofM Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award Committee, said the award is intended to honor professors who have excelled in their positions within and out of the classroom.
“The award is intended to recognize and honor our university’s best faculty,” Jones said. “The award is based upon student, alumni, and faculty nominations, and the committee considers all of the nominations from those resources and select the finalist for the award.”
Jones said there is an extensive process in selecting the winners.
“We have typically have up to twenty finalists for the award that are selected based upon the nominations,” Jones said. “Then, we enter the second phase of the award and in the second phase we ask the twenty finalists to provide their teaching evaluations over the last three years for the committee to review. We also ask for a confidential letter of support from their department chair as well. Once the committee gets through the second phase then the committee selects four recipients of the award.”
Jones said the award is important for faculty members.
“I think the award means a lot to the faculty becuase they are recognized for their excellence in the classroom,” Jones said. “I think the award also means a lot to faculty because it is a university-wide award.”
Haley Mckissick, a creative mass media major, said the award challenges professors and motivates them to perform better in the classroom.
“I think it pushes them to do better at their job,” McKissick said. “To see what somebody else has accomplished that would normally motivate others to do better so I think it’s good motivation for other professors.”
Mckissick said she would nominate her professor and advisor Matthew Haught.
“He has gone out of his way the whole time I’ve been here, I’m originally a transfer student and he has taken me under his wing to make sure I stay on path,” Mckissick said. “He actually checks on me and cares about his students. I’ve witnessed him do this for more than just me so I think he deserves the award.”
Cameron Hudson, a hospitality major, said he thinks the award encourages professors to do more and gives them an incentive excel in their job however, they shouldn’t need one.
Hudson said he would nominate his ACAD professor Maggie Bowers due to the care she shows her students.
“Every time we come into class, she always asks how everyone is doing and always checks up on us,” Hudson said. “She just goes beyond our grades to make sure that we’re doing okay.”
Ledarion Richman, a Chartwells employee, said professors care about the teaching award and do strive to earn it.
“I feel like they care because this is their job and how they live, this is what gets them paid everyday,” Richman said. “Things that you are in place for you want to excel and do better, even with me working for Chartwells for the time being I fell like i’m working for something better, everybody wants to climb to the next level in what they’re doing.”