• Baylor names finalists for 2020 Cherry Award, nation’s largest award for top teaching

    2020 Cherry Award finalists Jennifer Cognard-Black, Nancy Fichtman Dana, and Reuben A. Buford May

    Last week, Baylor announced the finalists for the university’s 2020 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching. (If you’re unfamiliar with the Cherry Award, it’s a unique honor — not only honoring professors for great teaching, but investing in their work with a gift of $250,000. It’s the largest monetary gift for teaching presented by a college or university, and the only award of its kind in higher education.)

    Here are the finalists, who can be considered among the nation’s top college educators:

    Dr. Jennifer Cognard-Black, professor of English, St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Cognard-Black’s interests are as varied as her travels. A two-time Fulbright Scholar, her studies have taken her from Nebraska, Iowa and Ohio to Slovenia and the Netherlands. She has written multiple peer-reviewed articles, teaching guides, book reviews, and critical and creative works.

    * Dr. Nancy Fichtman Dana, professor of education, University of Florida. Dana’s resume includes multiple national and statewide awards for teaching and research. She has published 10 books and more than 100 journal articles on a particular learning strategy known as practitioner inquiry, and she has secured more than $4 million in grants focused on teacher professional development.

    * Dr. Reuben A. Buford May, professor of sociology, Texas A&M University. May’s research — found in dozens of journal articles and three books — focuses on race and ethnicity, urban sociology, and the sociology of sport. He has served as a visiting professor at both Harvard and MIT, and in 2017, he was awarded Texas A&M’s most prestigious faculty honor for teaching.

    The Cherry Award winner — to be announced next spring — will receive $250,000, plus an additional $25,000 for his or her home department, thanks to a generous gift from Robert Foster Cherry, AB ’29,

    The award also greatly benefits Baylor students, as the winner will teach in residence at Baylor during fall 2020 or spring 2021.

    Sic ’em, Cherry Award finalists!