Three new members to be inducted into the UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers

AUSTIN—Three remarkable educators will be inducted into The University of Texas System Academy of Distinguished Teachers during a ceremony Friday, April 6.

Created to recognize exceptional educators at UT’s eight academic institutions, the Academy serves as an advocacy group dedicated to enhancing teaching, fostering innovation in the classroom, and promoting interdisciplinary perspectives on education.

“These extraordinary professors are standouts among their students and peers for their instructional approaches to improving the classroom experience,” said Steve Leslie, Ph.D., executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “They will now be part of an elite group of educators that collaborate at the highest level to advance academic excellence across all University of Texas institutions.”

Here are the 2018 inductees to the Academy of Distinguished Teachers:

  • Elizabeth Danze is a professor at the UT Austin School of Architecture, where she holds the Bartlett Cocke Regents Professorship in Architecture and the Gene Edward Mikeska Endowed Chair for Interior Design. Her work integrates practice and theory across disciplines by examining the convergence of sociology and psychology with the tangibles of space and construction.
  • Jill Fleuriet is an associate professor of anthropology and associate dean of the Honors College at UT San Antonio. Fleuriet’s work has been recognized at UT San Antonio with the 2015 President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching Excellence and the 2016 President’s Distinguished Award for Community Engagement. Fleuriet strives to develop intellectual curiosity, excitement and a sense of interconnectedness among her students.
  • Alex R. Piquero is the Ashbel Smith Professor of Criminology and associate dean for graduate programs in the School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences at UT Dallas. Piquero is one of the most cited scholars in his field, and his teaching philosophy involves being engaged with students, encouraging class discussions and making class enjoyable.


“Their dedication to the advancement of teaching is truly worthy of recognition,” said Beth Brunk-Chavez, president of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers and dean of the Extended University and professor of rhetoric and writing studies at UT El Paso. “We look forward to leveraging the talent and expertise they will add to our group so that we may continue to enhance the learning experiences of students across the UT System to ensure they are prepared to succeed in the 21st century.”

The Academy currently has 28 members and previously published “The Little Orange Book,” a compilation of expert teaching tips and thoughtful reflections on classroom learning.

Academy nominees must have previously received a Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award and have tenure or equivalent rank (senior lecturer or above) for contingent faculty. Members of the Academy are nominated by a campus-based selection process and are then submitted by the institution’s president or provost to the UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers for consideration.

The induction ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the UT System Administration Building at 210 West 7th St. in Austin.

More information can be found on the UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers website.

About The University of Texas System
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking basic, applied and clinical research, and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. With 14 institutions and a projected enrollment of more than 234,000 students, the UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates approximately two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public institutions in Texas. The UT System’s operating budget for FY 2018 is $18.3 billion, funded in part by $3.6 billion in sponsored programs from federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 20,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and nearly 80,000 health care professionals, researchers, student advisors and support staff, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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