The University of Texas System Board of Regents awarded $1 million to 39 outstanding faculty members from each of UT’s six health institutions Wednesday night in what is one of the nation’s largest monetary teaching recognition programs in higher education.
The Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards (ROTA) was established in 2008 for academic institutions and in 2012 for health institutions. Since the program began, the Board of Regents  has distributed $12 million in cash awards to faculty members who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and dedication to innovation.
Each faculty honoree receives an unrestricted check for $25,000. Current and past honorees are showcased on the UT System’s ROTA website .
Another 65 faculty members from UT’s nine academic institutions will be honored in August, bringing the Regents’ 2013 financial commitment for honoring outstanding teachers to $2.6 million.
“These are world-class educators who are critical to the success of UT health institutions and who are critical to the ultimate success of their students. And the students they mentor and teach will become this state’s future outstanding health care providers,” Regents Chairman Gene Powell  said. “The UT Board has always been dedicated to cutting-edge research, but these awards demonstrate the Board’s further commitment to outstanding teaching. The combination of great research and great teaching will ensure the UT System continues to be a place of intellectual exploration, educational excellence and unparalleled opportunity.”
ROTA recipients are vetted by colleagues, students and campus presidents before advancing to competition at the System level. Candidates from each institution then are evaluated by a panel of members of the UT Academy of Health Science Education.
In their evaluations of a candidate’s teaching performance, members of the review panel consider a range of activities and criteria, including classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes.
Because of the depth and breadth of educators across the UT System, the awards are among the nation’s most competitive and the selection process is extremely rigorous, UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa  said.
“Recognizing outstanding teaching is a major tenet of the UT System’s Framework for Advancing Excellence,” Cigarroa said. “We are deeply grateful to the Regents for creating this outstanding teaching award and for their ongoing commitment to support the very best educators in the health sciences. These outstanding teachers have an immeasurable impact on the health of our state and nation through their students who will be our future health care providers and scientists.”
About The University of Texas System
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System  is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2012 enrollment of roughly 216,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $13.9 billion (FY 2013) including $3.1 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.