By Amanda Hunt
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Four university professors will get a bonus in their paycheck and earn the title of the first University Distinguished Professors.
They are Christopher Carroll, English professor; James LaSalle, professor of management information systems; Clifford Lytle, professor of political science and Raymond White, astronomy professor.
The University Distinguished Professor award is a new honor at the university designed to re-emphasize the importance of quality teaching in undergraduate education. The idea for the award started over a year ago and was organized by the faculty fellow program in conjunction with University of Arizona President Manuel T. Pacheco.
Each professor will receive a permanent $5,000 increase in his base salary. The salary increase will be funded by the university during the first year and will be covered by the state in the following years. This year's recipients will be recognized at an awards banquet this month.
According the criteria of the award, the professors should demonstrate "long-term commitment to the UA; a sharp focus on undergraduate education; outstanding scholarship; an excellent teaching record; and a strong commitment to student welfare both inside and outside the classroom."
Lytle said the award is reflective of all of the faculty. He said there are many professors "much better and more creative than I am," and he sees the award as "symbolic" of those people.
LaSalle agreed that there are a great number of quality faculty at the UA and was pleased that he was chosen.
"I knew the competition would be keen. I'm honored that I was selected from among that group," he said.
He said what more importantly the university is showing that it values undergraduate teaching and honors personal commitment of faculty members.
Lytle has taught at the UA for 33 years and was responsible for the development of the Faculty Fellow Program and the Flinn Scholars Program. He has won several other teaching awards.
In his personal statement for the award, Lytle talked about serving on the Undergraduate Education Task Force. He said, "What an exhilarating experience. The differing perceptions, the robust exchange of ideas, the struggle to accommodate, the feelings of fulfillment ... this was the academy at its best. What a remarkable profession. How wonderful it is to be a teacher."
LaSalle has taught for 31 years in the College of Business and Public Administration as well as being a faculty fellow in Apache-Santa Cruz Residence Hall. He has been awarded with Teacher of the Year from the Business and Public Administration council five times and has taught over different 30 Management Information Systems classes.
David Pingry, MIS Department head, said, "Jim's success as a teacher is built on continuing relationships Ä transforming freshmen into productive citizens. He cares about the students' education and he cares about their lives. No one puts a human face on the university better than Jim LaSalle."
Carroll has taught English at the UA for 30 years. He has won many teaching awards and been nominated for the student-given Five Star Faculty award seven times and named a finalist in 1985.
Rudolph Troike, head of the English Department, states in his letter of nomination: "Chris Carroll is the sort of person of whom legends are made. A doctor-
ate from Yale, and one of the most genuinely erudite persons I have ever known, he wears his learning lightly, and is the very personification of the true teacher."
White has taught astronomy for 31 years. He is a faculty fellow in Graham-Greenlee Residence Hall and has led three Earthwatch exhibitions to study the astronomy of the Inca in Peru.
White said he thinks of himself as a facilitator and interpreter for students. "Whether teaching lower-division undergraduate students, astronomy majors, graduate students, or speaking to the general public, I have always tried to bring to my listeners 'the story behind the story' in their textbook or newspaper," he said. "For me, it's connections to the real world that bring the abstraction of modern astronomy into its full and aesthetically beautiful perception by interested people, and it's that perception which I try to deliver."
A committee comprising an award-winning professor, an administrator, a graduate student, a faculty fellow and a student chose the winner.
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