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Jackie Nelson Receives BBS Teaching Award
June 24, 2016
Dr. Jackie Nelson
Assistant professor Dr. Jackie Nelson wants her classes to be supportive, but also challenging. Based on reviews from students and fellow faculty members, she apparently has been successful. Nelson recently was awarded the 2016 Aage Møller Teaching Award, one of several honors given to faculty members and students in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS).
Nelson teaches undergraduate and graduate classes on child development and family psychology. Her research examines children’s social-emotional development and how mothers’ and fathers’ experiences at work, home, and in relationships are related to interactions with their children.
“The material I teach is very applicable to students’ lives. A lot of them will be going into careers where they’re working with children and with families, so I expect students to be constantly thinking about how they can apply this material,” Nelson said. “If it’s not exciting and doesn’t come to life for them, then I haven’t done my job.”
Dr. James Bartlett, interim dean of BBS, said Nelson is skillful at engaging students and bringing out their best.
“Jackie is an excellent teacher who has the ability to appeal to a diverse group of students. She is committed to developing students who can apply academic principles to their work and everyday experiences,” said Bartlett, Ashbel Smith Professor.
Students had plenty of accolades for Nelson’s teaching skills.
“Jackie is an excellent teacher who has the ability to appeal to a diverse group of students. She is committed to developing students who can apply academic principles to their work and everyday experiences.”
“Dr. Nelson was excellent as a teacher — very thorough and clear. The information was provided in an excellent manner, class was engaging but easy enough to keep up with if you do the readings and pay attention in class,” said one student in an evaluation.
Another student wrote, “I loved the way she encouraged class discussion even though the class was so large. She didn’t just put up slides and read them; she engaged the class and let us explore topics relevant to her lecture.”
Bartlett said Nelson’s teaching contributions extend outside the classroom to her individual instruction of undergraduate and graduate students. She regularly mentors three to six students each semester in research activities in her lab and has supervised at least 41 students at UT Dallas.
The BBS teaching award was established by Dr. Aage Møller, Founders Professor in neuroscience, to promote and recognize outstanding teaching, and is given based on nominations by the faculty’s peers and students.
Møller said he established the award to emphasize the value of good teaching. “The purpose was to recognize teaching as an important component of academic activity,” he said. “We as teachers have a unique and privileged position to influence young people.”
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