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Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award

Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award

Since 2001, The Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award annually recognizes four SMU faculty members for their notable commitment to and achievements in fostering student learning. These are teachers whose concerns for higher education go beyond classroom boundaries and often the boundaries of their own disciplines. In student mentoring, in discussions about teaching, and in continuous reflection about their own successes and ways to improve, they represent the highest achievement in reaching the goals of higher education. Guidelines for nomination and selection are here.

Recipients receive a $10,000 award and membership in SMU's Academy of Distinguished Teachers. For two years following the award, they participate actively with other members of the Academy in providing campus-wide leadership in teaching and learning.


Here are the 2015 recipients of the Award:



Jill DeTemple has been a member of the faculty of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences since 2005.  She received her Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her Master’s of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a Bachelor of Arts from Bowdoin College.

Professor DeTemple has won numerous awards during her tenure at SMU, including the Golden Mustang Award, the Rotunda Outstanding Professor award, Newcomer to Service Learning Award, and has been named a H.O.P.E. (Honoring our Professors’ Excellence) professor four times. She is a creative teacher that employs discussion, small group exercises, innovative uses of technology, and service learning projects in her courses.

 She is an engaged member of the SMU community and had a central role in the implementation of the University Curriculum (UC), where she was integral in helping to develop the student learning outcomes. DeTemple serves the university in a variety of capacities including serving in the Faculty Senate and facilitating a Faculty Learning Community for her colleagues. Her many services efforts directly improve teaching and student learning.

Professor DeTemple’s students think highly of her, as is reflected in their comments: “there was never a time that I left her class without plenty to think about and to discuss in the next meeting,” “I am not the brightest student, I am not the best talker, I’ve never been one for writing, but she was able to reach me, to engage me, and to help me respond positively to what we were doing in the classroom,” and “The SMU Religious Studies Department should Thank Allah, God, G-d, Buddha, and every single Hindu deity every day that they hired Jill DeTemple.”  




Yildirim Hurmuzlu received both his Ph.D. and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics from Drexel University, and his Bachelor of Science from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. He has been a professor at SMU since 1987. 

Professor Hurmuzlu is a distinguished scholar in the area of Dynamics and Controls, with over forty publications in his field's top journals, five patents to his name, served as a visiting fellow at Cambridge University, and he is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering. He has also provided valuable service during his time at SMU, including as department chair for six years, and has received the Outstanding Professor Award in Mechanical Engineering eight times, and mentioned every semester as one of students' favorite teachers. 

He is passionate about engaging students in an interactive learning process, challenging them with demanding content, and promoting their success by helping them to develop solid understandings of the field's underlying principles. His students consistently evaluate his classes and teaching style with scores above the departmental and school averages. Students value his humor, liveliness, ability to explain concepts in a simple manner, consider him "knowledgeable and captivating" and appreciate that "he promotes success to the students if they are willing to put in the work to master the class."



Dr. Darius Miller earned his Ph.D. in Finance from the University of California- Irvine, a Master's of Business Administration from Loyola University, and his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Tulane University. He has served at SMU since 2004, and is a Professor of Finance and the Caruth Chair in Finance. 

Professor Miller’s research and numerous publications on the topic of international finance rank among the top worldwide, and he has published extensively in top accounting journals. He introduces his and other scholars' new and relevant research into the classroom in the form of group discussions and cases studies. 

Professor Miller is a distinguished teacher and has received numerous awards from Cox School of Business and SMU, including the MBA Distinguished Teaching Award five times, the President's Associates Outstanding Faculty Award, and the Boghetich Family Distinguished Teaching Award. Dr. Miller strives to teach his students to question modern theories in order to develop their abilities to think critically both in the classroom and in their lives beyond school. He encourages active learning and uses effective technology extensively in his classes.

Students cite Professor Miller's enthusiasm, organization, expectation for academic excellence, and preparing them for professional positions. His department chair notes that Miller hands out a reasonable number of failing grades each semester and even those students who have failed still highly recommend him, which is a true testament to his teaching ability. One student states that Miller is "not only a master of the subject, he is a gifted teacher. I consider myself fortunate to have taken his class. He is the jewel of the program."