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Distinguished Teaching Awards: professors poked, prodded, and now honored by their peers

23 April 2003

After 44 years, during which 207 faculty members from 48 departments have been honored with a Distinguished Teaching Award, the prize — bestowed annually by the campus Academic Senate — continues to gratify its recipients and impress their colleagues. So eagerly do some faculty view the prospect of receiving the award that the official guidelines of the selection committee emphasize the importance of keeping the initial stages of the nomination process confidential — “to minimize the number of candidates who pass nearly a whole academic year in anticipation of an award that might not be conferred.”

2003 Award Winners
Glynda Hull
Martha Olney
Jeffrey Reimer
The three winners of the 2003 Distinguished Teaching Award will be honored at a Zellerbach Playhouse ceremony on Tuesday, April 29, at 5 p.m. The public is invited to both the ceremony and the reception that follows in the Toll Room of Alumni House.

The 2003 awardees are Glynda Hull, professor of education; Martha Olney, adjunct professor of economics; and Jeffrey Reimer, professor of chemical engineering.

The three recipients now get to pass a whole academic year enjoying their laurels (plus $10,000 each). They’ve weathered an exhaustive selection process, emerging at the head of a competitive field after being evaluated on a range of factors, including command of their subject, continuous growth in their field of study, ability to organize course material and present it cogently, ability to inspire independent and original thinking, and — not leastwise — “enthusiasm and vitality in learning and teaching.”

Once nominated, and notified accordingly, they participate personally in the process, submitting letters of recommendation, student evaluations, and other supporting materials, and teaching at least two classes under the observation of members from the Senate’s Committee on Teaching.

That the winners are rarely exhausted by this process, continuing instead to bring high energy and commitment to their pedagogical calling, underscores how seriously the prize-givers take their own role, and how shrewdly they make their selections. This year’s three winners, profiled below, are worthy additions to the growing roster of distinguished teachers singled out for special praise among — and, most importantly, by — their peers since 1959.

More: Martha Olney's Statement of Teaching Philosophy