Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Award

2023 Altshuler Recipients


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.

Brett Story is an Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering in the Lyle School of Engineering. He is also a Fellow at the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education and the Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity. Professor Story exudes a profound passion for teaching and serves as an exceptionally engaged and supportive mentor to students. His teaching evaluations were exceptional. His teaching statement was notably strong, and his outreach with Garland schools showcases a commendable dedication to community engagement. He has garnered stellar recommendations from both peers and students, with recommendation letters deemed among the best the committee has encountered. A letter of recommendation from the department’s associate chair emphasized how he consistently earns top ratings from students in their senior exit surveys and interviews.

Joanna Grossman is a Professor of Law in the Dedman School of Law and the Ellen K. Solender Endowed Chair in Women and Law. Professor Grossman comes highly recommended by her colleagues. Notably, she involves her graduate students as assistants in pro-bono cases, providing them with valuable real-world experience. Her intricately detailed teaching statement centered around principles of engagement, power dynamics, and empathy made her stand out from the rest. It also reflected a thoughtful and intentional approach to education. Professor Grossman distinguishes herself by taking an unique pedagogical approach as a Law professor by incorporating formative assessments methods. Glowing statements from students highlight the positive impact she has on their learning experiences, including “This was a genuinely fun class that I enjoyed a lot more than I thought I would. Professor Grossman is a wonderful instructor.

Daniel Moss is an Associate Professor in the Department of English in the Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences. His packet stood out by receiving, in the review committee’s opinion, the most exceptional letter of recommendation from a colleague. This letter commended his brilliant synthesis of insights in the classroom. Descriptions of his class sessions are nothing short of amazing, with a notable ability to lead students socratically, fostering an environment where they become deeply engaged with the complexities of language and meaning. Known for his generosity, kindness, and nurturing approach, Professor Moss leaves an indelible impact on students, as evidenced by their glowing letters. Notably, a testimonial from an Asian student highlights his inclusive teaching style, creating a welcoming atmosphere even for those who may feel out of place.

Mark Kerins is a Professor in the Department of Film & Media Arts in the Meadows School of the Arts. The committee pointed out that he distinguishes himself through his dedication to working with students beyond the classroom, engaging them in valuable extra-curricular activities. His meticulously detailed syllabus underscores his commitment to providing students with a comprehensive understanding of his course’s structure. His teaching statement, framed as a “lessons learned” document, articulated that he values transparency and open communication with students and exemplified his thoughtful and reflective approach to education. Noteworthy recommendations from both former and current department chairs speak of his consistent teaching performance.