Local professor and lecturer awarded for outstanding teaching skills

The University of Texas at Tyler announced the recipients of this year’s UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.

Dr. Amy Hayes, assistant professor of psychology, and Lauren Johnson, lecturer in chemistry, will each receive $25,000 in recognition of their superior undergraduate instruction and commitment to student success through teaching.

They will be recognized next month in Austin.

“This award represents our faculty’s profound dedication to student success and providing the highest quality of education to the East Texas region,” said Dr. Amir Mirmiran, UT Tyler provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We are extremely proud of Amy and Lauren for this significant honor bestowed upon them by the Board of Regents.”

Serving the UT Tyler College of Education and Psychology since 2014, Hayes is the faculty liaison for student research within the University’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

As a psychology and counseling faculty member, she also champions for students by her service on the Honors Program Committee and the Undergraduate Council.

A UT Tyler alumna, Johnson has served the chemistry and biochemistry department within the College of Arts and Sciences since 2014.

She is an active member of the American Chemical Society and encourages students not only through her teaching, but also through community involvement and as an ACS student chapter adviser.

“These educators are dedicated to continually looking for new and better ways to inspire students to learn and succeed,” Board of Regents Chairman Kevin Eltife said. “And they’re ensuring the next generation, whether they be teachers, scientists or health care providers, is armed with passion and knowledge. Their contributions are immeasurable.”

One of the nation’s largest awards program for recognizing educators in higher education, the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards program was established by the Board of Regents in 2008.

Since then, the Board of Regents has presented more than $20 million to over 700 UT educators.

“This awards program is an investment in both faculty and students, because when it comes to student success – and subsequently real world success – recruiting and retaining great faculty is the key,” UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken said. “I’m grateful to the Board of Regents for its continued commitment to great teaching, and I’m thankful that these exceptional educators are serving our students and Texas.”

Selection criteria include classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes. After a rigorous campus-level review, names are forwarded by each institution’s president for consideration before the board’s final selections.