Fall Teaching Awards

Each year, we have the distinct honor to recognize deserving faculty across campus with teaching awards. For the 2021-2022 year, we are selecting faculty for three awards: The Golden Mustang Award, The President's Associates Award, and The Provost's Teaching Recognition Award. 

Each award carries a $1,000 stipend. The awards give us the opportunity to celebrate a commitment to teaching among our ranks. These awards reflect our collective commitment to excellence in teaching, which is core to our aspiration to become an even greater research and teaching university with global impact.

The Golden Mustangs, SMU alumni who graduated at least fifty years ago, have established an award for the advancement of teaching and learning. This award of $1000 is given each year to a junior, tenure-track faculty member, whose teaching is consistently excellent; whose courses reflect thoughtful curricular development; and whose scholarship makes a meaningful contribution to the discipline and to student learning.


2021 Recipient:

Professor EnglertAssistant Professor Gianna Englert, Dedman School of Law

Gianna Englert is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science as well as an Associate of the John G. Tower Center for Public Policy & International Affairs. Her student evaluations were stellar, and some examples of student comments included: “Professor Englert’s teaching style – indeed, her personality – embodies all the characteristics of an ideal University professor. She is both professional and approachable, intelligent yet unpretentious, informal but not ‘low-pressure.’” Dr. Englert’s research record exemplifies the beginning of a solid research profile, and her teaching philosophy statement was noted by the committee to be particularly strong. In a letter of recommendation, her department Chair cited that “In her nearly 3.5 years on our faculty, Gianna Englert has become one of the, if not THE top classroom instructor in the department.”


For a list of previous recipients, click here.

The President's Associates Outstanding Faculty Award is given annually to tenured faculty for the advancement of teaching and learning. This award of $1000 is designed to honor faculty who have sustained high achievement as teachers and whose scholarship makes a meaningful contribution to student learning.


2021 Recipient:


Professor LippertAssociate Professor Alex Lippert, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Alex Lippert is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and was nominated by five distinctive colleagues for this award. The committee noted how his student evaluations stand out and how the students speak very highly of him, even though his courses cover very challenging topics in chemistry. In a letter of recommendation, a former student highlighted how Dr. Lippert always makes time to meet each of his research students individually and that he would “walk out of every group meeting feeling inspired and enthusiastic about learning more.” Dr. Lippert has mentored several students in the department and a significant number of them have published in undergraduate publications or moved on to pursue graduate degrees.

For a list of past recipients, click here.

The Provost’s Recognition Award honors full-time non-tenure-track faculty who demonstrate a commitment to excellence and a consummate dedication to teaching and learning. The non-tenure-track candidate must have taught credited courses full time for a minimum of 5 continuous years prior to his/her year of nomination. This award provides an opportunity to honor the contributions to teaching at SMU made by these important colleagues. The award carries a $1,000 stipend.

2021 Recipients:

Professor Ferguson

Kiersten Ferguson, Simmons School of Education and Human Development

Kiersten Ferguson is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Education Policy & Leadership at the Simmons School of Education and Human Development. The committee noted that this professor has developed 13 new courses in various formats, that clearly exemplified her vital impact in the program’s development and curriculum. Her approach to pedagogy also stood out, with a clear research-oriented approach and willingness to change and listen to students to foster a great community of learners. Of note, her pedagogical statement was very thoughtful, and her letters of reference emphasized her enthusiasm for innovation and her involvement within the School of Education. Her materials also highlighted that she has mentored and advised many students and one example of a comment (from one of her teaching evaluations) includes: “Dr. Ferguson is one of the kindest human beings I have ever met. She is thoughtful and understanding, and clearly care deeply about us and our education.”

Professor EastonJohn Easton, Lyle School of Engineering


John Easton is a Senior Lecturer and Assistant Chair in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Lyle School of Engineering. His materials showed a very strong breadth of teaching and outreach to K-12 schools in the Dallas area. His focus on his students’ experiential learning, which was strongly highlighted in some of his letters of reference, was also apparent with examples of field trips. Another of his letters of recommendation, from an academic advisor in Lyle, noted she regularly receives outstanding feedback about him as a professor and advisor and how he is a responsive, fair, and caring individual. He has long served the university, and his teaching philosophy suggested a broad and sustained effort to do more than teach the “how” of engineering, but also the “why” of policy design.


To see a list of prior winners of this award,click here.