Recommendations due March 1 for university’s top teaching accolade
The University of Mississippi is seeking nominations for the 2021 Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award, which is the highest honor the university bestows upon its professors.
Faculty, staff, students and alumni are encouraged to submit nominations by March 1 for this year’s honoree. Assistant, associate and full professors are eligible, except previous recipients of the award.
The winner receives a $5,000 prize and a personal engraved plaque, and his or her name also goes on a permanent display in the J.D. Williams Library.
“The tradition of academic excellence is held in the highest regard at the University of Mississippi,” Chancellor Glenn Boyce said. “The Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award is an opportunity to honor that commitment to excellence.
“We are fortunate to have dedicated, engaging faculty, and it is exciting and fulfilling to be able to award this distinction each spring. I strongly encourage our community members to participate in the nomination process.”
The selection committee comprises previous recipients, along with the director of Alumni Affairs and a student representative. Criteria include nominating letters that describe examples of exceptional teaching and letters that have been submitted for nominees in previous years.
The Faculty Senate submitted a proposal to then-Chancellor J.D. Williams in 1965 to create a program of recognition and awards for superior teaching. The following spring, a committee solicited nominations for an Outstanding Teacher Award from faculty, students and alumni.
Then-Vice Chancellor W. Alton Bryant suggested that the award be presented on Honors Days and announced during Commencement exercises, and this has remained the tradition.
Previous winners of the award include John Rimoldi, Mark Wilder, Laurdella Foulkes-Levy, David Willson, Gregory Schirmer, John Neff, Kelly G. Wilson, Ethel Young-Minor, John O’Haver, Ann Fisher-Wirth, William Berry, Bob Brown, John Czarnetzky, Ann Monroe, Ken Sufka, and Matt Reysen.
John Young, associate professor of psychology and winner of the 2019 award, chairs the committee that will select this year’s winner.
“Winning this award was the highlight of my professional life, and I am very happy to be part of the process of selecting future recipients,” Young said. “The committee carefully reads and reviews every single nomination, and taking the time to focus attention on a professor that has made a meaningful difference in a student’s life may be the deciding factor in who is the next recipient.
“If someone has made you think, broadened your worldview or otherwise taught you something that fundamentally changed your life, please let us know about it. Those are the teachers who deserve to be recognized for their work.”
By Edwin B. Smith