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Two Liberal Arts Professors Named to Prestigious Academy of Distinguished Teachers

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posted: Monday December 12, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas - Two faculty members have been named to the prestigious Academy of Distinguished Teachers at The University of Texas at Austin. Charles Holahan, professor of psychology, and Marjorie Woods, professor of English, are two of the seven inductees who were awarded at a banquet on Thursday, Dec. 8.

2011 Distinguished Teachers

The banquet highlighted the accomplishments of faculty members from across the university who have been recognized by their peers and students for their contributions to education, particularly at the undergraduate level.

“Among the many ways we reward good teaching on the Forty Acres, none is more special to me than the induction of new members to the Academy of Distinguished Teachers,” said President Bill Powers, who was inducted into the academy in 1997 as a law professor.

The inductees were named by Provost Steven Leslie in June, and each will receive a permanent academic salary increase of $7,000 and be designated as a Distinguished Teaching Professor.

Holahan has received numerous teaching accolades and receives high marks from students. He has served as both undergraduate adviser and honors adviser in Psychology and is credited with shaping the current structure of the Departmental Honors Program. He was also one of the architects of the Liberal Arts Honors Program.

Woods’ teaching style requires extensive student participation, with a student or group of students introducing the discussion for every class. Her writing assignments include imitation exercises and, for research papers, cumulative assignments divided into stages. She also takes all of her classes to the Harry Ransom Center to look at manuscripts for classes focused on the medieval period and valuable archives for classes focusing on other periods. She is the recipient of the Rome Prize for the American Academy in Rome, the Harry Ransom Award for Teaching Excellence in the College of Liberal Arts, the University President’s Associates’ Teaching Excellence Award and the Chad Oliver Plan II Teaching Award. Woods was unable to attend Thursday’s banquet because she is currently at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University.

Established in February 1995, the Academy of Distinguished Teachers was one of the first associations of its kind in the nation. Deans of colleges and schools annually nominate faculty for membership, and a committee that includes members of the academy, students and other faculty review the nominations and recommend a slate of honorees to the provost, who makes the selections. The 2011 inductees bring the university’s total academy members to 126.

Pictured from left to right: Jay L. Banner, Charles J. Holahan, Sharon Jarvis, President Bill Powers, Beth Maloch, Michael W. Downer and Yale N. Patt. Not pictured: Marjorie Woods. View a larger version of this photo. Photo: Marsha Miller

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