Professor’s Gift Establishes New Teaching Award

Dr. Aage Moller, recipient of a long list of awards throughout the world during his academic career, is demonstrating his devotion to UT Dallas students and the art of teaching through a new fund in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS).

Moller holds the Margaret Fonde Jonsson Chair in BBS. He and his late wife, Margareta, frequently supported UT Dallas and previously established scholarships and professorships at the school. This most recent donation, a $30,000 endowment to establish the Aage Moller Teaching Award, was prompted by his desire to spotlight faculty members who show exceptional commitment to their students.

“I think good teaching should be rewarded, and I hope a prize will promote good teaching,” he said. “In a competitive world, knowledge and skill have become increasingly important, not only to get a job that can give a paycheck and pay for necessities. But more important, knowledge and skill are essential for getting an interesting job.” 

Moller said good teachers engage students in creative thinking and get them interested in the topics they teach. They don’t just recite facts that students could find in books. He acknowledges that it is sometimes difficult for professors to balance a busy research schedule with their teaching duties, but he thinks the two responsibilities go well together. 

“Presenting a topic in the classroom is a great way to learn the topic, and the questions a teacher gets from the students are very valuable and often surprising. Many times, their questions are challenging, suggesting new ways of looking at a topic.”

Dr. Aage Moller

Moller said his most recent gift was spurred by his respect for UT Dallas and his concern for students.

“The University has been good to me, and it is an excellent University, so why should I not also try, in a small way, to be good to it?” he said. “Also, I like my students. They do not always have it so easy. Many are struggling with economic problems, and they deserve all the support they can get.”

Moller received the President’s Teaching Excellence Award for Tenure-Track Faculty during the annual Honors Convocation last May. At that time, he said he felt honored to be recognized for his work with students, explaining that it is “very rewarding to be able to help young people get the best possible start in a professional or academic life.”

Moller is well known for his innovative research on sensory systems and neural plasticity. Among his most important contributions to neuroscience is his development of a method to reduce the risk of serious complications from brain operations. The technique is used worldwide and known as intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring.

He received another honor recently, when he was chosen to present BBS’ first Distinguished Lecture in Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Slated to be an annual event, this lecture will be the final talk in the school’s annual colloquium series. He will present the lecture in  April.

Dr. Bert Moore, dean of BBS, said Moller’s many contributions are much appreciated.

“Aage Moller has strengthened the school in every conceivable way,” he said. “Of course, foremost is his distinguished record of scholarship and teaching, but his and Margareta’s generosity has also provided support for the teaching and research mission and provided an example of leadership for all of us. Throughout, his concern has always been students, and we are very grateful for this support of the school’s instruction.”

“I think good teaching should be rewarded, and I hope a prize will promote good teaching,” said Dr. Aage Moller.

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