• Nation’s largest award for top teaching brings NC State math education prof to Baylor

    Dr. Hollylynne S. Lee

    Every two years, Baylor’s Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching brings one of the nation’s best professors not already here at Baylor to Waco for a semester, allowing BU students to benefit from his or her excellence in the classroom. First awarded in 1991, the award remains our country’s largest national award presented by a college or university for exceptional teaching, and carries with it an exceptional monetary reward for both the professor and his or her school.

    The 2022 Cherry Award recipient is Dr. Hollylynne S. Lee, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Statistics Education at North Carolina State University. The Cherry Award is just the latest in a string of honors for Lee; she received the UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2020, and was named a “professor of distinction” at NC State last fall. She has also been honored as a fellow by the American Statistical Association and the International Society for Design and Development in Education.

    “I am an educator through and through,” says Lee. “The secret to being a great teacher is loving the joy of learning, for your students and for yourself. Learning new content and developing new approaches that can engage and excite your students keeps a focus on developing students’ joy in their own learning. Teaching is then a playful and joyful experience…

    “Having a national-level award that rewards college-level teaching from any discipline says loudly that it is not just what we teach, but how we care for, teach and mentor college students that really matters… [The Cherry Award] speaks volumes about the commitment that Baylor University has for teaching given the incredible effort that goes into the award process by Baylor faculty and staff.”

    Beyond the classroom, Lee has committed much of her time and energy to creating open educational resources, offering free online courses for educators from around the world and sharing research-based multimedia materials via Creative Commons licensing.

    “I want to make math and statistics relevant to every person’s life and change the experiences they have in schools,” says Lee. “I want to get meaningful curriculum materials in the hands of teachers so they can change the types of experiences students have with relevant data in their classrooms.”

    As the Cherry Award recipient, Lee will spend a semester at Baylor teaching and working with BU students. She is expected to teach in residence during the 2023 spring semester.

    “When I got the call, I cried tears of joy and did a big ‘happy dance’ with my family,” Lee says. “I am really looking forward to immersing myself in the experience through engaging with Baylor students, getting to teach new courses in a new environment and building lasting partnerships with Baylor faculty.”

    Sic ’em, Dr. Lee!

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