Criminology Prof Works to Expand the Possibilities

Some of Dr. Denise Boots' Biggest Champions Have Been Her Own Students

Aug. 21, 2009

Opening the door to numerous possibilities in any given field is often something only a talented and engaging professor can do for students.

After being chosen for a Regents’ Outstanding Teacher Award from The University of Texas System, it can be said that Dr. Denise Paquette Boots has successfully met those specifications.

Boots, an assistant professor of criminology in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, is one of only 18 tenure-track faculty members from across the UT System chosen for the award.

“We are especially thrilled that a new faculty member has already been recognized for the quality of her teaching,” said Dr. Brian Berry, dean of the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences. “We look forward to many more UT Dallas students benefiting from her outstanding instruction.”

The UT System sponsors the award, which is in its first year, to mark the importance placed on undergraduate teaching and learning. The honor was accompanied by a monetary award of $25,000.

“My first priorities as a teacher are to engage student interest in even the most complex criminological topics, motivate students to perform at their personal best, and to develop critical thinking skills,” Boots said.

Candidate selection for the Regents’ Outstanding Teacher Award relied heavily on student and peer faculty evaluations and letters of support within academic departments.

“In my opinion, the best teachers are not the ones that tell us what to think, but those who teach us how to think,” Boots said. “They demand our best and set high expectations that we work hard to attain because we begin to believe in our abilities to achieve intellectual greatness. This is the type of professor I aspire to be.”

Recommendation letters from students show Boots meeting her own high goal.

“What struck me and really got my attention was when Dr. Boots explained why she was in the field of criminology,” said Sarah Easterday, a senior criminology major. “Her story of being personally touched by crime and its subsequent effect on her life added a realistic, tangible dimension to the words on the pages of my textbook. The reverence and intrigue the class felt toward Dr. Boots is something we would soon learn to be a regular experience in her class.”

“A student can only take from a course as much as a professor is willing to give,” said Sarah El Sayed, a May 2009 UT Dallas graduate. “With that in mind, a student of Dr. Boots ends the semester bursting with newfound knowledge and an insatiable desire to learn more. This is a sign of an educator who not only comes to class to teach, but takes the extra effort to inspire her students and help them reach their full potential.”

Boots joined UT Dallas in 2006 from the University of South Florida, where she earned her Ph.D. in criminology. She teaches a number of criminology classes, including Introduction to Crime and Criminology (CRIM 1307), Introduction to Criminal Justice (CRIM 1301), Corrections (CRIM 3316), and Family Violence over the Lifecourse (CRIM 4396).

She also serves as the University’s criminology program associate chair and graduate director, and she consults with various organizations and non-profit agencies in the Dallas area.

“I have great passion for teaching and believe that being an educator comes with tremendous responsibilities that require time, resources and human capital if one is to inspire greatness and exceptional learning in the classroom,” Boots said.


Media contact: Brandon V. Webb, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, brandon.webb@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Denise Boots   Dr. Denise Paquette Boots is a criminologist in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.

 

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