Dr. Jessica Murphy, dean of undergraduate education and professor of literary studies at The University of Texas at Dallas, has been inducted as one of four new fellows of the UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers, which recognizes outstanding educators throughout its academic institutions.
“It’s very exciting,” Murphy said. “These are fabulous teachers who care a lot about their students and about improving how the student experience works, all across the UT System.”
The academy was created in 2012 and serves as an advocacy group to foster classroom innovation, promote interdisciplinary educational perspectives and catalyze the sharing of best practices.
Fellows are selected through a campus-based nomination process. Nominees must have received a Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.
Murphy, who also is a professor of literature in the School of Arts and Humanities and the Mary McDermott Cook Chair for Undergraduate Education, said that joining the academy allows her to participate actively in improving the educational experience for students.
“I am not really a fan of things where you just show up and you aren’t able to make a difference. I like to think about the ripple effects of pretty much every interaction that we have,” Murphy said.
The academy is known for its publication of The Little Orange Book, which features teaching tips and reflections on classroom learning. The group recently released a new book, The Little Orange Book II: Student Voices on Excellent Teaching, which features UT System students’ perspectives on what makes a teacher great.
Other academy projects include teaching conferences on each of the academic campuses and a blog that includes teaching ideas and information.
Dr. Inga Musselman, vice president for academic affairs and provost, said Murphy is a passionate advocate for teaching and learning. She noted that Murphy’s work on developing the Quality Enhancement Plan for UT Dallas’ reaffirmation of accreditation was influential in her induction into the academy.
“Jessica cares deeply about students and about teaching. I have no doubt that we will see reflections of her creativity and knowledge in projects undertaken by the academy and in teaching strategies throughout the System,” said Musselman, who is also the Cecil H. Green Distinguished Chair of Academic Leadership.
Three other UT Dallas faculty members serve as fellows: Dr. John Sibert, associate professor of chemistry in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Dr. Karen Huxtable-Jester, a senior lecturer in psychology in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences; and Dr. Alex Piquero, Ashbel Smith Professor of criminology in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.