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20130913 UTPA  outstanding-regentsEDINBURG—Six faculty members at The University of Texas-Pan American have been selected by The University of Texas System Board of Regents to receive the prestigious 2013 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award (ROTA), one of the nation's largest monetary teaching recognition programs in higher education.

The UTPA ROTA recipients - among 63 faculty members honored in the UT System's nine academic institutions - are:Dr. Karen Lozano, Julia Beecherl Endowed Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering;Dr. Dumitru I. Caruntu, associate professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering and director of the Biomechanics Laboratory;Dr. Maria Cristina Villalobos, professor, Department of Mathematics and director of the Center for Excellence in STEM Education;Dr. Marci R. McMahon, assistant professor, Department of English and Mexican American Studies graduate studies director;Dr. Michael Abebe, assistant professor, Department of Management andGustavo Dietrich, lecturer, Department of Computer Science.

The annual awards are presented to faculty members who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and dedication to innovation. This year $1.6 million will go to outstanding faculty members. In July, 39 faculty from the U.T. System's six health institutions were also honored, bringing the total awarded by the Regents to $2.6 million.

Each faculty honoree will receive an unrestricted check for $25,000. Since 2009, when the ROTA was initiated, 20 other UT Pan American faculty members have received the award and are highlighted on the UTPA Faculty Awards Site.

“I am so proud of the six scholars being honored this year with the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. To be recognized for their work in the classroom when they also are among our most active researchers and faculty leaders shows how committed they are first and foremost to their students,” UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen said. “This year’s honorees exemplify the greatness of the UT Pan American faculty that will provide the foundation for a new emerging research university for the Rio Grande Valley.”

ROTA recipients are vetted by colleagues, students and administrators at their own institutions before advancing to UT System consideration. Candidates are then evaluated by a selection committee of distinguished educators from both in and outside of the UT System who consider their classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes.

UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa described the ROTA selection process as one of the nation's most rigorous, said the UT System is grateful to the Regents for their ongoing commitment to honor its very best and most dedicated faculty.

"These awards recognize the immeasurable impact teachers have on our students, who will shape the future of our communities across Texas and the nation,” Cigarroa said.

Current and past winners are showcased on the UT System's ROTA website.

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