Professor wins largest undergrad teaching honor

Professor wins largest undergrad teaching honor


[TRUMPETS PLAY] Stephen Myers
Today we’re going to make a surprise visit to Dr. Sean Theriault’s classroom. He is the 2009 recipient of the Friar Centennial Teaching Fellowship. Nicole Trinh
The Friar Society is actually the oldest honor society here on campus. It started in 1911. The FCTF is a huge award. It’s actually one of the largest undergraduate awards given here at the university. And it really recognizes excellent undergraduate teaching. Stephen Myers
It’s the second largest monetary reward given for excellence in undergraduate teaching. Nicole Trinh
It’s about $15,000 given to this one faculty member. And, of course, it’s just a huge prestige and honor to receive it. [TRUMPET PLAYS] Stephen Myers
It’s going to be quite a show. Band Member
So we’re going to follow all of these guys. [WHISPERS] [BAND PLAYS] Stephen Myers
Surprise! [APPLAUSE] We would like to congratulate you and present this check to you for being this year’s winner of the Friar Centennial Teaching Fellowship. Congratulations. Sean Theriault
Thank you. [APPLAUSE] So I heard music out in the hallway, and I thought something might be up. And then when Stephen Myers and Nicole Trinh walked into the classroom is when I realized I was probably . . . That or it was a great April Fools’ joke. Stephen Myers
In this room we have current Friars. We have former winners of this award, so we hope you have opportunity to speak to them. We also have many of your beloved friends and colleagues and students. Dean Diehl is with us today, as well as the Longhorn Band. They’re in the hallway. [LAUGHTER] We love you very much. Thank you so much. [APPLAUSE] Before we leave, the tradition is that you dismiss class. Sean Theriault
From the very beginning, I recognized the huge potential of the undergraduate student population at The University of Texas. And it was through my involvement with them, on my own research, that my appreciation for the undergraduate student population grew. And it inspires me, and that is why I spend the hours that I do getting ready for class and making sure that every student has the best possible experience that they can have in my classroom. Jade Brewster
I’ve had four classes with him, and he’s been one of the most animated, most helpful and interesting teachers that I’ve had at UT. Amy Forestell
A good teaching fellow is someone who really is here for the undergraduates at this university. They’re dedicated to being excellent teachers, and they also go above and beyond outside of the classroom. They’re mentors to their students. They involve them in research. They involve them in all aspects of campus life. So above and beyond an amazing teacher and then some. Sean Theriault
What I love about teaching, especially at The University of Texas, is how refreshing the students are. There are a lot of students here who are the first people in their family to go to college, and I just love that you can those people in the same classroom as people who are now third and fourth-generation UT students. Jade Brewster
He was really helpful. He was really approachable. And I remember one time I was having trouble with a paper…. Over the years, he’s kind of coached me on how to become a better writer. I haven’t received a low grade on any of my papers, even outside of government after his, I guess after his mentorship. Amy Forestell
Almost all of the current Friars had heard of him and all of the great things that he had been doing on campus, so it was very clear to me that he had touched a lot of lives here at the university. Sean Theriault
I can’t come up with anything eloquent to say, but I’m reminded of why I do this. I was reminded this past weekend, when I went to Washington D.C. And for me, there’s nothing more gratifying than seeing my current students interacting with my former students, and just seeing the amount of exchange that goes on between the two groups. And having the old students, who I kind of taught about procedures and Congress to, now working in Congress and telling current students what’s really going on there. And so, the most gratifying thing is what took place in Washington D.C. And I’m so touched that I get this. Nicole Trinh
Big congratulations to Dr. Theriault. It was a very, very competitive year, and he’s so deserving of this award. To be nominated for the award and even to receive the award is a huge honor. Jade Brewster
Even all the more reason to sit down and write that nomination for your professor… It’s the least you can do. Stephen Myers
I hope more students in the coming year participate by nominating their favorite professors. And I just hope that the Friar Society continues to give and recognize the talent and the dedication of our professors. [CROWD SINGS “Eyes of Texas”] [APPLAUSE]

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