Professors Honored for Top-Notch Teaching

April 26, 2012 — "The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting," wrote Plutarch almost 2,000 years ago.

On Wednesday, the University of Virginia formally recognized 15 professors and three graduate teaching assistants who kindle the flame with their passionate and innovative teaching at a special dinner in the Rotunda's Dome Room.

This year's winners of outstanding teaching awards get their students to think beyond majors and seek broader or loftier goals. They inspire students by being innovative and approachable while setting high standards for academic success. They make learning fun – even in demanding courses like organic chemistry, new German cinema and qualitative finance. They also mentor their colleagues, so learning continues.

The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost issues a call for nominations each fall and the Teaching Resource Center administers the awards program. Click here for more information.

The program brochure for the dinner included these descriptions and complimentary remarks from deans, colleagues and students.

Cavaliers' Distinguished Teaching Professorship
Ignacio Provencio, associate professor of biology, College of Arts & Sciences

Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award
Erik L. Hewlett, professor of medicine in infectious diseases and international health, School of Medicine

Alumni Board of Trustees Teaching Award
Laura J. Heins, assistant professor of German. College of Arts & Sciences

Excellence in Faculty Mentoring Award
Cristina Della Coletta, professor of Italian and associate dean for the arts and humanities, College of Arts & Sciences

Excellence in Education Abroad Award
Robert J. Swap, research associate professor of environmental sciences, College of Arts & Sciences

• 2012-15 NEH Horace W. Goldsmith Distinguished Teaching Professorship
Alison M. Levine, associate professor of French, College of Arts & Sciences

All-University Teaching Awards

Peter B. Arnold, professor of physics, College of Arts & Sciences
Dr. Megan J. Bray, associate professor of obstetrics & gynecology, School of Medicine
Robert E. Burnett, professor of chemistry, College of Arts & Sciences
Patrick J. Dennis, associate professor of commerce, McIntire School of Commerce
Howard E. Epstein, professor of environmental sciences, College of Arts & Sciences
Alison M. Levine, associate professor of French, College of Arts & Sciences
Michael S. Palmer, associate professor and assistant director of the Teaching Resource Center, who teaches chemistry, College of Arts & Sciences
Rebecca Stangl, associate professor of philosophy, College of Arts & Sciences
Bruce A. Williams, professor of media studies, College of Arts & Sciences

School of Medicine Resident Teaching Award
Dr. Noah Kolb, neurology department, School of Medicine

All-University Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards
• Carla L. Jones, urban and environmental planning, School of Architecture
• Christopher H. Gregg, computer engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science
• Gail E. Lovette, Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education, Curry School of Education