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Teaching Awards

Teaching Awards

The annual celebration of teaching, centered around the awards given to outstanding faculty, is worth note in several respects. First, the occasion has steadily increased in visibility thanks to the great efforts of our Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence and the enthusiasm of past recipients, colleagues and others. It should be an important event, and increasingly, it’s treated like one.

Second, I hope and believe that the recipients really appreciate the University’s gratitude for their efforts. I usually say something about this being essentially the most important award the University offers, and I mean that. I had the privilege of winning an award of this sort at my previous institution, and I found it deeply meaningful, and I hope that Mason recipients have the same feeling — they deserve to.

The range of recipient types also deserves note, this year and typically. We have faculty, for example, who warrant particular attention because of their contributions to general education. Others excel at the use of technology. And of course we regularly honor, with the David King award, one faculty for a full career of teaching contributions at Mason.

Any ceremony of this sort is also symbolic. I am fully aware that we have more faculty who contribute powerfully to teaching than we can ever fully identify or honor. I hope that, through occasions of this sort, the importance we attribute to teaching comes through more generally.

We have all sorts of goals at Mason. Obviously, we’re concerned with expanding research and research reputation. We also have a strong stake in various types of outreach, including both regional and global service activities. But teaching is at the core; it comes first. I say this annually to our new faculty, and I mean it. It’s good to have this special annual reminder.