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Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards

Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards Medal

Offered annually in recognition of faculty members at the nine academic and six health University of Texas System institutions who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction, the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards are the Board of Regents' highest honor. With a monetary award of $25,000, the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards are among the largest in the nation for rewarding outstanding faculty performance. Given the depth and breadth of talent across the UT System, the awards program is likewise one of the nation's most competitive.

Faculty members 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.

Established by the Board of Regents in 2008, the Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards complement a wide range of Systemwide efforts that underscore the Board of Regents' commitment to ensuring the UT System is a place of intellectual exploration and discovery, educational excellence and unparalleled opportunity.


2014 Recipient


Catherine M. Flaitz, D.D.S., M.S.

Catherine M. Flaitz

Teaching can be compared to the performing arts. It demands expertise and immersion into the subject, genuine engagement of the audience, a believable storytelling quality and a passion for creating a stimulating environment. The goal is to leave the learners on the edge of their seats so they are hungry for more.



2013 Recipient


Donna Warren-Morris, R.D.H., M.Ed.

Donna Warren-Morris

My goal as a teacher is to facilitate a process that results in my students learning to think critically and use their knowledge to problem-solve. Excellent teachers whom I have known are those who model and embrace lifelong self-reflection and learning. My ultimate purpose is for our graduates to become ethical, competent, reflective practitioners who never doubt their abilities, but never take them for granted either.


2012 Recipients


Jeryl D. English, D.D.S., M.S.

Jeryl D. English

As the scope of orthodontics continues to change, so does the knowledge necessary for both the student and the practicing professional. As a teacher and educator, I recognize that my students are adults with different personalities, learning styles and learning preferences. I strive to employ outcome-based learning strategies so my students are prepared to provide excellent clinical care.

Jacqueline T. Hecht, Ph.D., M.S.

Jacqueline T. Hecht

I was extremely lucky to have the most amazing teachers and mentors who conveyed to me their love and excitement of learning and scholarly work. It has always been important that I continue the tradition of integrating the great work from the past with the rapidly expanding genetic information. My challenge is to grab my students’ interests using interactive techniques, and to encourage them to think bigger and deeper, to find their own answers, and to take ownership of the process.

Muhammad F. Walji, Ph.D.

Muhammad F. Walji

I am passionate about helping students become better thinkers, problems solvers, and in dealing with situations where optimal answers to important questions may not exist. Students in health professions have a mountain of data and information they have to navigate. I hope that teaching our students about the science of informatics and arming them with the necessary skills and tools to effectively manage this information will help them in making safe and effective clinical decisions throughout their career.