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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Provost Award recipients honored

Photo by Photo by Abbey Santoro

10 Texas A&M faculty members were chosen to receive the 2021 Provost Academic Professional Track Faculty Teaching Excellence Award as a way to honor the contributions they have made towards the student experience. 

Recipients of the 2021 Provost Academic Professional Track Faculty Teaching Excellence Award feel honored to be among inspiring honorees.
Ten Texas A&M faculty members were chosen to receive the award this year, including Don Conlee, Ph.D.; Tatiana Erukhimova, Ph.D.; Simi Gunaseelan, Ph.D.; Soon Mi Lim, Ph.D.; Sharon Matthews, Ph.D.; John Murphy, J.D.; Jayne Reuben, Ph.D.; Dr. Jennifer Schleining; Kristi Shryock, Ph.D.; and Radhika Viruru, Ph.D. These individuals will be able to use their titles as award winners for life, as long as they remain in good standing with the university.
According to the Office of the Provost’s website, winners will also receive a $5,000 cash stipend.
“This award encourages, recognizes and rewards faculty who provide students with meaningful learning experiences, embrace effective teaching approaches and value student-centered learning,” the website reads.
Although professor of law John Murphy said he never planned on being in the teaching profession, he has grown to love it over time.
“I always wanted to be a lawyer,” Murphy said. “So when I was in law school, if you had asked me, ‘Do you ever want to come back and teach law school?’, I would have said, ‘No.’”
After he received his Juris Doctor, Murphy said he practiced law and was “living the dream,” before burning out quickly. After a colleague tried teaching twice, he said he followed suit and enjoyed it on the second try.
“Mostly, I teach first-year law students, but in the past, I’ve also taught advanced legal writing in the form of appellate advocacy,” Murphy said. “I’ve taught remedial legal reasoning skills, and now I teach students to get ready for the exam right before they graduate.”
In response to receiving the 2021 Provost Academic Professional Track Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, Murphy said he feels honored to be among such deserving recipients.
“I work with a talented group of people and probably don’t deserve this,” Murphy said. “It’s truly humbling.”
Pharmacology professor Jayne Reuben also said she didn’t see herself as a professor, despite being raised in a family of academics.
“My father was president of Morris College, which is a small [historically Black college] in Sumter, S.C., and my mother was an academician as well,” Reuben said. “I have siblings who are former provost and dean, so it’s kind of in our blood.”
Although she initially fought against the path of teaching, Reuben said she has found it enjoyable.
“I’m from South Carolina originally and went to Congress College, which was a small woman’s college at the time,” Reuben said. “[I] majored in chemistry, but I really was interested in how I could apply my knowledge of chemistry to help improve quality of life.”
After graduating, Reuben said she went on to pursue a doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences with a specialization in pharmacology and toxicology. She said she then studied forestry at A&M for a short time.
“I left to start a medical school in my state of South Carolina, the University of South Carolina,” Reuben said. “I was one of the founding faculty members for that school where we have created an integrated curriculum.”
Her biggest interest, Reuben said, is pharmacology.
“Pharmacology is powerful,” Reuben said. “Medications are powerful, and they can have an adverse effect on people’s lives depending on how you use them, so a lot of what I focus on is safe prescribing of medication.”
Upon receiving the award, Reuben said it is nice to be recognized for the work she has done.
“The awardees are just really inspiring to me as I read their profiles,” Reuben said. “Thinking about all the things that they’ve done, it is such a humbling experience to be included. I’m very excited and honored for the recognition.”
For a full list and biography of each award winner, click here.

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