EPPS Faculty Receive Teaching Comet Awards

Dean Denis Dean

“I think these awards where students choose the faculty for special recognition are pretty unique,” said Dr. Denis Dean, dean of the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.

For the fourth year, students in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS) recognized faculty with nominations for best teachers of the year at an awards ceremony last month.

“I think these awards where students choose the faculty for special recognition are pretty unique,” said Dr. Denis Dean, dean of EPPS. “It’s an important part of the university experience to have students in the driver’s seat sometimes. I’m happy to be a part of it, and I think the students are happy to be a part of it, too.”

Students nominated faculty members in each of the school’s degree areas for the Outstanding Teaching Comet Awards. The 10 winners — those who received the most nominations in their areas — received crystal apples engraved with their names. 

Anthony Cumings receiving teacher award.

Dr. Daniel A. Griffith (left), Ashbel Smith Professor, presents Dr. Anthony Cummings with the Outstanding Teaching Comet Award for geospatial information sciences.

Dr. Dohyeong Kim, associate professor of public policy, political economy and geospatial information sciences, was honored after only his first year of teaching at UT Dallas.

Kim said adjusting to a new group of students was challenging. UT Dallas was a new environment with a different culture, he said, but he did his best to adjust to his students’ needs by spending time developing his lectures and being hands-on in the classroom.

“I’m very happy and honored that it seems like my efforts have paid off,” Kim said.

Two of the first-year PhD students who nominated Kim attended the ceremony to see him recognized.

“Not only are his classes really organized, he’s really thorough in his teaching,” said Soojin Min, who is studying public policy and political economy. “Sometimes he uses his own research in class to apply what we learn, which I find inspiring.”

Donald Arbuckle

Dr. Donald Arbuckle received the Outstanding Teaching Comet Award for public affairs.

Dr. Anthony Cummings, who joined UT Dallas in December, also received an award. Cummings is a visiting assistant professor in geospatial information sciences.

Associate professor Dr. Michael Tiefelsdorf, a first-time honoree, said it was a pleasant surprise to be nominated after six years of teaching a subject many students find arduous.

“I’m very happy to be recognized because I predominantly teach statistics, and I challenge our students,” he said. “That they realize that it’s beneficial for them to learn statistics — it’s inspiring. I hope I inspire them, too.”

Dr. Donald Arbuckle, clinical professor of public administration and a PhD advisor, took home a crystal apple for the second consecutive year.

“If you’re going to be a teacher, there can’t be a more satisfying reward than being recognized by those you teach,” he said. “I am extremely honored.”

Dr. Kurt Beron presented Dr. Tammy Leonard with the Outstanding Teaching Comet Award for economics.

2014 OutstandingTeaching Comet Awards

CriminologyWinner: Dr. Elmer PolkHonorable mentions: Dr. J.C. Barnes and Dr. Alex Piquero

EconomicsWinners: Dr. Tammy Leonard and Dr. Lloyd Jeff Dumas

Geospatial Information SciencesWinners: Dr. Anthony Cummings, Dr. Fang Qiu and Dr. Michael TiefelsdorfHonorable mentions: Dr. Bryan Chastain and Dr. Daniel Griffith

Political ScienceWinner: Dr. Brandon KinneHonorable mentions: Dr. Brian Bearry, Dr. Banks Miller and Dr. Clint Peinhardt

Public AffairsWinner: Dr. Donald ArbuckleHonorable mentions: Dr. Sarah Maxwell and Dr. John McCaskill

Public Policy and Political EconomyWinners: Dr. Dohyeong KimNonfaculty award: Dr. Rubia da Rocha Valente, research associateHonorable mentions: Dr. Jonas Bunte and Dr. Jennifer Holmes

SociologyWinner: Dr. Sheryl SkaggsHonorable mentions: Dr. Nicholas Vargas

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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