President’s Award Honors Political Science Lecturer
Jun. 2, 2010
Dr. Brian Bearry, senior lecturer in political science in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, received a President’s Teaching Excellence Award May 14 during the annual Honors Convocation.
Bearry said the award came as a complete surprise.
“As teachers we always question how effective we are in reaching students, and this lets me know that I’m doing something right,” he said. “I love working with the kids, and I think in a lot of ways, we teach each other during our exchanges in class.”
The award committee received 1,954 nomination forms for a cross section of the 355 eligible candidates for the prize, which was created in 2007 to recognize the contributions of non-tenure-track faculty and comes with a stipend of $3,000.
Bearry is particularly deserving of special recognition, said his dean, Dr. Brian Berry.
“Brian Bearry teaches large state-required introductory government classes that have to be taken by students whose majors range from engineering and mathematics to literary studies and psychology, and he has been able to do it in a way that students enjoy and, realizing the benefits, engage,” Berry said. “Typically such classes are rated poorly by the students, but in Brian’s case, it is the opposite. They genuinely enjoy what he does and how he does it, whatever their disciplinary background, because they know that what they learn will make them better citizens. Brian exemplifies the traditions of high-quality teaching of which EPPS is justifiably proud.”
Dr. John Pomara, professor of visual arts in the School of Arts and Humanities, was chairman of the award committee. He said all three final candidates were exceptional teachers, but Bearry easily emerged as the winner.
“I believe that UT Dallas is like a family with smart and talented students along with so many professors like Dr. Bearry who are passionate, highly knowledgeable and exceptional at teaching,” Pomara said. “It’s what makes UT Dallas a great university.”
Committee members reviewed teaching evaluations and requested letters of recommendation from colleagues. They also reviewed many notes of praise from students. Among the comments that students submitted as endorsements were:
“He is a great motivator and pushes his students to succeed.”
“His excellent lectures reveal his enthusiasm for teaching as well as his brilliant instructional method.”
“Without the use of PowerPoints and handouts, he has the ability to teach students how to listen.”
Bearry teaches courses on American government and politics as well as classical and Enlightenment political theory. His primary areas of research interest are statesmanship and the intersection of republicanism, liberalism and liberty in contemporary political thought and practice.
Besides teaching, Bearry also writes extensively for Pearson Longman Publishing. Before coming to UT Dallas in 2002, he taught at the University of North Texas and Southern Methodist University.
Bearry earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas State University and his PhD from the University of North Texas.