EPPS’ Outstanding Teachers Receive Awards

on right, Dr. Donald Arbuckle

Dr. Donald Arbuckle, with Dr. Sheryl Skaggs, associate professor of sociology, received his third EPPS Outstanding Comet Teaching Award. “To be recognized by EPPS students for teaching is a particularly gratifying honor. It warms the cockles of an old professor’s heart,” said Arbuckle, clinical professor of public affairs. 

The School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS) recognized faculty members and graduate teaching assistants for excellent teaching at a recent ceremony.

The EPPS Outstanding Comet Teaching Awards are based on nominations from students, and winners receive crystal apples engraved with their names.

Dr. Denis Dean, dean of the school, said the awards are unique because they are based on student feedback.

“Identifying outstanding teachers is as much an art as a science,” Dean said. “There are so many factors involved — student experience coming into the class, the subject matter being taught, what the students gain from the class, how the class fits into the curriculum, and on and on. 

“But at the end of the day, the people best qualified to judge teachers are their students. That’s what makes student-driven awards like these especially meaningful.” 

Dr. Nicole Leeper Piquero

Dr. Nicole Leeper Piquero

Dr. Donald Arbuckle, clinical professor of public affairs and PhD advisor, received his third award. Some students called him “tough” in their written comments that came with the nominations.

“The famous ‘red pen’ causes you to rise to your best, improve your weaknesses and excel your knowledge,” one student wrote.  Students also praised Arbuckle’s sense of humor and stories from his experience as a deputy administrator for the White House Office of Management and Budget.

“I am delighted and very grateful to have been awarded the EPPS ‘Crystal Apple,’ ” Arbuckle said. “To be recognized by EPPS students for teaching is a particularly gratifying honor. It warms the cockles of an old professor’s heart.”

Dr. Nicole Leeper Piquero, associate dean for graduate programs and professor of criminology, earned the award for her department. One of her student’s comments read: “Dr. Piquero is passionate about criminology and that shows in her work as a professor.”

Dr. Sherry Li

Dr. Xin (Sherry) Li

“It is a great honor for me to receive an EPPS Outstanding Teaching Comet Award since these awards come directly from our students,” she said. “It is a true privilege to be a small part of the academic journeys that our students are embarked upon.”

Dr. Xin (Sherry) Li, associate professor of economics, received multiple comments in student evaluations that she made a difficult subject easy to understand. One student also called her a “life mentor” who helped her when she faced difficulties adjusting to American culture.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to win the award,” Li said. “It is remarkable to be acknowledged, and to know that what I teach is being appreciated by my students.”

2015 Outstanding Teaching Comet Awards

CriminologyWinner: Dr. Nicole Leeper PiqueroHonorable mentions: Dr. Denise Paquette Boots, Dr. Timothy Bray, Dr. Elmer PolkGraduate Student Instructor Winners: Michele Meitl, Mark Saber, Haley Zettler 

EconomicsWinner: Dr. Xin (Sherry) LiHonorable mentions: Dr. Rodney Andrews, Dr. Daniel Arce, Luba Ketsler, Dr. Stephen Kiser,  Dr. Asli Leblebicioglu, Daniel O'Brien

Geospatial Information SciencesWinners: Dr. Bryan Chastain, Dr. Irina VakulenkoHonorable Mentions: Dr. Anthony Cummings, Dr. Denis Dean, Dr. Daniel Griffith, Dr. Fang Qiu, Dr. Michael Tiefelsdorf, Dr. May YuanGraduate Student Instructor Winner: Yuhong Zhou 

Political ScienceWinner: Dr. Brian BearryHonorable Mentions: Dr. Anthony Champagne, Dr. Douglas Dow, Dr. Karl Ho, Dr. Iliyan Iliev, Dr. Banks Miller, Tony Seagroves

Public AffairsWinners: Dr. Donald ArbuckleHonorable Mentions: Teodoro Benavides, Dr. James Harrington, Dr. L. Douglas Kiel, Dr. Young-joo Lee, Dr. Sarah MaxwellGraduate Student Instructor Winner: Anna Clark 

Public Policy and Political EconomyWinners: Dr. Jonas Bunte, Dr. Rubia ValenteHonorable Mentions: Dr. Lloyd Dumas, Dr. Dohyeong Kim, Dr. Murray Leaf 

SociologyWinner: Dr. Bobby AlexanderHonorable Mentions: Dr. Galia Cohen, Dr. Carol Cirulli Lanham, Sara Mokuria, Dr. Richard Scotch, Dr. Nicholas Vargas

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

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