Alumni Association Honors Outstanding Teachers

KNOXVILLE — Several faculty members have been recognized with the National Alumni Association’s Outstanding Teacher Award in advance of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s 2008 Chancellor’s Honors Banquet, scheduled to take place Wednesday, April 9, on campus.

The awards banquet, set for 6 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom, is the largest campus awards ceremony honoring students, faculty, staff and friends of the university for their accomplishments throughout the year.

The Outstanding Teacher Award recognizes excellence in the classroom. Here are the recipients of the 2008 Outstanding Teacher Award:

– Dr. Bruce Behn, professor of accounting and information management, has been consistently ranked as one of the best teachers in the Physician, Senior and Professional MBA programs. Since joining the faculty in 1994 he has won several teaching awards, including the American Accounting Association’s Innovation in Accounting Education Award and the 2003 Tennessee Society of CPAs Educator of the Year. His evaluation scores reflect his commitment to students and the material. Students have called him “engaging and thought-provoking” and have described his teaching style as “unique, refreshing, and keeps the entire class in focus,” and even that he “brings an exciting approach to learning accounting.”

– Dr. Richard Bennett, professor of civil and environmental engineering, sums up his teaching philosophy in one word: “caring.” He’s available before and after class and participates in University Housing’s “House Calls” program, which gives him a chance to talk to students in their own environment. He’s been on the faculty since 1983 and in that time has earned several honors and awards and accomplished an extensive amount of research and publications. In addition to the hundreds of positive comments from his student evaluations, one student summed up his course as, “by far the most interesting, challenging, fun, entertaining and well-organized class that I have ever taken.”

– Dr. Stanton Garner, professor of English at UT for the past 18 years, has said his ultimate goal is to provide an environment where students are “encouraged to take their ideas seriously, a workshop where they can develop their skills of perception, analysis and discovery.” After publishing three scholarly books with a fourth on the way, he’s also acting as one of three editors for the forthcoming Norton Anthology of Drama – a noteworthy project in and of itself. Dr. Garner’s dedication to his students shines when he simply says that the project will allow him “new ways to contribute to tomorrow’s classrooms.”

– Dr. Margaret Gripshover has been adjunct associate professor of Geography since 2001. Her classroom atmosphere is open, positive, rigorous and, at times, improvisational. During class students contribute to discussion, ask knowledgeable questions, and even interject jokes or asides. This could be distracting in other classes, but students call Gripshover’s class a warm and comfortable atmosphere where they are engaged and learn that geography can be fascinating and relevant, not just a string of map quizzes. In 2007, Gripshover received the Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

The full list of all faculty, staff and student awards is available online at http://chancellor.utk.edu/honorsbanquet/. Archived video of the event also will be available at this site.


Contact: Beth Gladden, beth.gladden@tennessee.edu, 865-974-9008 or 865-771-1284