It could be as simple as a note or an expression on a student's face. Or it could be as significant as seeing a student turn a class assignment into a presentation or of knowing the teaching methods they modeled are used in other classrooms. But faculty members say that, whatever the method, it means a lot when they see their student succeed.
"I maintain high standards for my students, and I also provide them with the necessary tools to meet those standards," says John Quintanilla, professor of mathematics and UNT nominee for 2014 and 2015 U.S. Professor of the Year. "I show compassion to my students and their struggles. I'm more than happy to stop and talk with groups of students who are studying in the lobby if they have questions about my course. I especially hope that I provide a positive example for my future mathematics teachers when they begin their careers."
"I know I have made a lasting impact when students experience and appreciate the connection between what is studied and how it relates to the real world. I may get calls or emails from former students thanking me for information they are now using in their jobs. Sometimes, they share information and articles they find in the media that relate to our course content. These are the times when I feel that they 'got it,' and that I did my job well."
— Nancy Boyd Lillie, professor of management and 2014 winner of the Outstanding Online Teacher and Course Award
"Nothing is more rewarding to me as a teacher than seeing my students succeed. When a former UNT student sits on a plenary panel at a national conference with me, as Paige Reynolds ('02 M.A., '06 Ph.D.) recently did, or when a former UNT student places an article in the most compet itive journal in our field, as Jeff Doty ('02 M.A.) recently did, or when a former UNT student secures one of the few tenure-track positions in our field, as Amanda Kellogg ('14 Ph.D.) recently did, I feel that I have succeeded as a teacher."
— Jacqueline Vanhoutte, associate professor of English and UNT Distinguished Teaching Professor and 2014 winner of the J.H. Shelton Excellence in Teaching Award
"In my early years in higher education, my questions centered on the issue of how to do all the teaching, research and service, as well as 'have a life.' My dean at the time said something that I will never forget -- and that I always pass on to my doctoral students. Teach, research, present and write. This is the way to build your focus and expertise effectively as you use your limited time well."
— Jane B. Huffman, professor of teacher education and administration and 2014 winner of the Research Leadership Award
"I teach a class that is required of economics majors involving basic concepts in probability and statistics. A substantial proportion of students in this class come to the class expecting it to be tremendously boring and not especially useful to them. The moments of which I am most proud as an educator are those 'light bulb' moments when a student realizes that he or she is capable of the work, and that the material is relevant to his or her life and career."
— Michael A. McPherson, professor of economics and 2014 winner of the UNT Piper Professor Nomination