Faculty members earn Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards

By Lin Lofley

Ten faculty members at UT Southwestern Medical Center have received Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards in recognition of their performance and innovation in the classroom and the laboratory.

The Outstanding Teaching Awards, the highest honor granted by UT System Regents, were created in 2008 to recognize and reward faculty members who serve undergraduate students in an exemplary manner.

This marks the first year the awards were presented to faculty at the UT System’s six health institutions.

 The UTSW honorees are:

  • Dr. Preston Blomquist, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, who will become a full professor on Sept. 1.
  • Dr. Susan Cox, Regional Dean of Austin Programs, and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
  • Dr. Ponciano Cruz Jr., Vice Chairman of Dermatology and Director of the Department’s Dermatology Residency Training Program.
  • Dr. Frederick Grinnell, Professor of Cell Biology and a recognized leader in the field of bioethics.
  • Dr. Eugene Jones, Chairman of Physician Assistant Studies, the Department of which he became chairman on the day he arrived on campus in 1983.
  • Dr. Biff Palmer, Professor of Internal Medicine.
  • Dr. James Richardson, Professor of Pathology, Molecular Biology, and Plastic Surgery.
  • Dr. John Sadler, Director of the Program in Ethics in Science and Medicine, Chief of the Division of Ethics in the Department of Psychiatry, and Chief of the Division of Ethics and Health Policy in the Department of Clinical Sciences.
  • Dr. Jerry Shay, Professor of Cell Biology, and an authority in the field of geriatrics.
  • Dr. Ellen Vitetta, Director of the Cancer Immunobiology Center, and one of the nation’s most honored researchers and scientists.

Learn more about the 2012 Recipients

“UT Southwestern – and more importantly its students – are indeed fortunate to have a faculty comprising dedicated and skilled teachers,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern. “It is gratifying to have several of our very best honored for their effectiveness by these awards.”

Across the UT System, 40 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards were handed out to faculty members at its health institutions. Each honoree received a $25,000 award.

In announcing the awards, Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa, Chancellor of the UT System and UTSW alumnus, said the system “has a mandate to provide an education of the first class.”

 “I firmly believe the efforts of these outstanding faculty members significantly enhance the educational experience of our students and, just as importantly, sharpen the competitive edge of our science and technology activities,” he said.

Recognized faculty members underwent a series of rigorous evaluations by students, peer faculty, and external reviewers. The review panels considered a range of activities and criteria in evaluating a candidate’s teaching performance, including classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development, and student learning outcomes.

UT Southwestern and UT Health Science Center at Houston each had 10 honorees, followed by the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio (8), UT Medical Branch at Galveston (6), UT MD Anderson Cancer Center (5) and UT Health Science Center at Tyler (1).


Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery Jr., MD, Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.