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.


2022 Recipient:

Janille Smith-ColinAssistant Professor Janille Smith-Colin, Lyle School of Engineering

Janille Smith-Collin is an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering (Lyle School of Engineering). She is a prolific scholar with stellar student evaluations. One of her letters of recommendation, from her department chair, underlined her very intentional and highly iterative course design process that often involves students. She has reimagined the department’s Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering course with the NSF-funded Center Infrastructure Transformation and Education (CIT-E) model to include exposure to broader societal issues that are critical for successful civil engineering in today’s world. She has been engaged in civil leadership through her professional organizations and has committed to improve diversity in higher education through multiple campus and national initiatives. 


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.


2022 Recipient:


Maryann CairnsAssociate Professor Maryann Cairns, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Maryann Cairns is an associate professor of Anthropology (Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences). Cairns’ student evaluations show that she is a very talented classroom teacher. One student said “Professor Cairns is the key element of this course, she makes the course fun and engaging for all students!” She has won several awards, including the Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award and the Extra Mile Award while being a prolific and respected scholar. According to one of her letters of recommendation, her lab is “brimming with students; she has been mentoring more than her fair share of Hamilton Scholars, McNair Scholars, Engaged Learning Students, etc.”


For a list of past recipients, click here.

The Provost’s Teaching 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.

2022 Recipients:

Constantin Icleanu

Constantin Icleanu, Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences

Constantin Icleanu is a lecturer of Spanish in the World Languages and Literature Department (Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences). He is also the coordinator of first-year Spanish. The committee noted that he had stellar student evaluations with very high response rates and ratings consistently higher than the departmental average. Additionally, the teaching evaluations included comments saying that he was “always eager to teach,” that he “did a great job keeping us involved every day in class” and that he was “the best professor I have ever had.” His heartfelt teaching statement captured the attention of the review committee and his letters of recommendation and support from colleagues as well as former students made him really stand out from the other nominees.

Adriana AcevesAdriana Aceves, Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences


Adriana Aceves is a senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics (Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences). Aceves received one of the strongest letters of recommendation we received, her recommender highlighting that there are “no other faculty on campus who are more dedicated to the success of our incoming students.” She teaches some of the more challenging courses in the department and is always available to assist students in her very well attended office hours. Her students have nominated her for the Extra Mile Award and the HOPE award (3 times), and she has been awarded the Math Department’s Betty McKnight Speairs Teaching Award. Finally, her collaborative work with the Simmons School is impressive, making a significant impact in K-12 schools in the area.


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