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Two Receive Regents Teaching Awards

Two members of the College of Pharmacy faculty have received 2012 Regents Outstanding Teaching awards from the University of Texas System.

Renee Acosta, a clinical associate professor of health outcomes and pharmacy practice, and Ken Lawson, a professor and head of the Health Outcomes and Pharmacy Practice Division, are among 65 faculty members from the system's institutions to be honored. A total of 27 faculty members from The University of Texas at Austin received the 2012 awards.

The awards are made annually in recognition of faculty members of the University of Texas System institutions (nine academic and six health-related) who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction.

"Professors Acosta and Lawson are outstanding teachers and valuable members of our College of Pharmacy faculty," said M. Lynn Crismon, dean of the College of Pharmacy. "It is an exceptional honor that our college has two faculty members chosen in the same year from a college the size of the UT College of Pharmacy."

The College of Pharmacy now has four faculty members who have received the awards since they were implemented by the UT System Board of Regents in 2008.  Dr. Patrick Davis, senior associate dean of the college and a medicinal chemistry faculty member, as well as Arlyn Kloesel, distinguished senior lecturer of health outcomes and pharmacy practice, are previous recipients of the award.

As teachers, Acosta and Lawson emphasize connecting with students and connecting lessons of the classroom to the professional world.

"As a pharmacy professor, it is important for me to show the students the relevance of the information being provided so that they can understand how to apply it in their practice setting," Acosta said. "I want to instill in them the knowledge and tools they need to be successful practitioners and to develop the confidence to use their knowledge and skills."

"I strive to help students understand the relevance of the material, cultivate their critical thinking skills, motivate them to become lifelong learners, instill a sense of professionalism and accountability, and to learn from them," Lawson said. "I love being with the students and I care about them as individuals-I always try to convey my sincere interest in their academic and professional success."

Acosta's areas of interest include over-the-counter products, sterile product admixture, and the education, training and utilization of pharmacy technicians.

Lawson's primary teaching interests include health care systems in the professional program and health care systems, research methods, and data analysis in the graduate program.

His research focuses on factors affecting the use and costs of prescription medications and other health care services. He also is involved in research to evaluate the effects of educational interventions.

All recipients of the awards receive a cash prize.  The financial awards this year total more than $2.6 million for faculty at both the academic and health campuses and 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 also one of the nation's most competitive.

Award nominees must demonstrate a clear commitment to teaching and a sustained ability to deliver excellence to the undergraduate learning experience. In the competition for the awards, faculty candidates were subjected to rigorous examination of their teaching performance over three years by campus and external examiners.


Last Reviewed: August 27, 2012

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