Altshuler Distinguished Teaching 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.

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.

For nomination and selection guidelines, click here.

Alida Liberman is an associate professor of Philosophy (Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences). She stood out as one of the top candidates for several committee members because of her great student evaluations, which included comments like
“Dr. Liberman’s engaging topics and her personality when teaching the class were very engaging and thought provoking and made this one of the most interesting philosophy classes that I have taken at SMU" and “this course confirmed my desire to be a philosophy major.” The committee also noted one of the letters of recommendation from her department chair, which described her as “without question, the most effective teacher in SMU’s Philosophy Department, and she is one of the very best teachers I’ve had the opportunity to observe.” Finally, she was a national finalist for the APA Prize for Excellence in Philosophy Teaching in (2021 and 2022) and has presented on topics around teaching.

Bruce Marshall is the Lehman Professor of Christian Doctrine in the Perkins School of Theology. The committee noted the strength of his letters of recommendation. In one of them, a colleague pointed out that he has served SMU faithfully for over two decades and that his achievements in research and scholarly reputation is one of the main reasons why SMU consistently attracts some of the best PhD students in the field of Religious Studies. His student evaluations were very good with good response rates. According to colleagues, he has been a great citizen of the university by contributing with “extra teaching” (independent studies, directed readings, off-campus lectures, written comments on students’ and colleagues’ papers and books in progress as well as mentoring via email and in person.

Katherine Carte is a professor of History (Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences). The committee noted that one of her letters of recommendation included several superlatives and characterized her as an innovative historian and teacher. Her department chair letter included student evaluation comments that highlight her impact on them: “Professor Carte is amazing. So passionate about her subject. Makes the class so much more valuable.” “Dr. Carte was a great teacher whose passion shone through her lessons. Even though the topic is not something I necessarily want to pursue after this class, I enjoyed doing the work.”

Eric Larson is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science (Lyle School of Engineering). He had glowing student evaluations and scored well above the department average for a lot of the categories. The letter of recommendation from his department chair highlighted that he ranks well with students, which is supported by comments like “this class is interesting, and the instructor makes us fall in love with it. The instructor is passionate in the class, which give us the message the he loves it, so we can” and another recommendation mentioned that he has “classroom magic.” He has been a productive scholar, but the review committee was able to sense his strong passion for teaching in his dossier.