CASE Names Four U.S. Professors of the Year
Four professors were honored last month for their dedication to teaching, commitment to students and creative approach to education. The four, named U.S. Professors of the Year, were selected from more than 400 nominations. The awards, sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, are the only honors for excellent teaching in higher education.
Philosophy professor Dr. Alicia Juarrero of Prince George’s Community College in Maryland was named the Outstanding Community College Professor. Art professor Dr. James Adams of Manchester College in Indiana received the award in the baccalaureate category. Dr. Dennis Jacobs, a chemistry professor at the University of Notre Dame, also in Indiana, was honored in the master’s category; and Dr. Francisco Jiménez, a modern languages and literature professor at Santa Clara University in California, was honored in the doctoral research university category.
“The Professors of the Year bring tremendous energy and passion to everything they do because of their genuine love for students, teaching and their disciplines. The professors’ ability to nurture, encourage and challenge students is inspiring, and CASE is honored to have a role in recognizing them,” says Dr. Vance T. Peterson, president of CASE.
Last spring CASE assembled two preliminary panels of judges who evaluated the nominees in four areas: impact on and involvement with undergraduate students; scholarly approach to teaching and learning; contributions to undergraduate education within the institution and community; and support from colleagues and students. CASE then forwarded a list of 30 finalists to the Carnegie Foundation, which performed the final judging and awards a $5,000 prize to each of the four national winners. Carnegie also selected 46-state level winners.
Juarrero plans to give $1,000 of her $5,000 in prize money to the Clemente Course, which nominated her for the award. It is a program in Washington that gives poor people exposure to college-level curriculum.
Born in Cuba, Juarrero immigrated to the United States with her family when she was 13. She earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Miami and has been at the community college’s Largo campus for 27 years.
She said the key is to step out of the ivory tower without lowering standards. Her students read Aristotle, Socrates, Rene Descartes and Immanuel Kant.
“I believe in teaching the best discipline has to offer in a way that excites and interests students without sacrificing quality or intellectual rigor,” Juarrero says.
She is also known for helping her students make sense of their lives, urging one to attend law school and giving another tips on how to save money on laundry detergent.
Her classroom “is an open space where real life and real life issues are as important as textbook learning,” says former student Jiselle Price.
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