More than two decades after its creation, Baylor University’s Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching remains the only national award (and the single largest monetary award) presented by a college or university to an individual for great teaching. Every two years, it brings one of the nation’s top college professors to teach at Baylor for a semester.
The most recent Cherry Award winner, Dr. Brian Coppola, is just wrapping up his tenure at Baylor after having spent the spring teaching organic chemistry in residence here. Last month, the finalists for the 2014 Cherry Award were announced:
- Dr. Meera Chandrasekhar, Curator’s Teaching Professor of Physics, University of Missouri. A native of India, Chandrasekhar has taught at Missouri since 1978, earning recognition for her teaching from groups such as the National Science Foundation and the Missouri Governor’s office. Her hands-on physics programs for students in grades 5-12 and summer institutes for K-12 teachers have received several awards.
- Dr. Joan Breton Connelly, Professor of Classics and Art History, New York University. Since 1990, Connelly has directed NYU’s Yeronisos Island Excavations and Field School in Cyprus; in 2002, she was honored by the Cyprus government for her contribution to the exploration and preservation of Cypriot cultural heritage. She also was appointed by President George W. Bush to a U.S. Department of State advisory committee, serving from 2003-11.
- Dr. Michael K. Salemi, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Salemi has taught at UNC since 1976, earning multiple awards for economics education from such groups as the Southern Economic Association, the National Council on Economic Education and the Association of Economic Educators. He chaired the American Economic Association’s Committee on Economics Education from 1994-2000 and served as president of the Society of Economics Educators in 2004.
Each finalist will lecture at Baylor this fall as well as a Cherry Award lecture on their own campuses sometime in the next year. The winning professor will be announced next spring and will teach in residence at Baylor during the fall 2014 or spring 2015 semesters.
Sic ’em, Cherry Award finalists, and to Robert Cherry Foster, whose estate gift has made this award possible!