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.


2023 Recipient:

Devin MatthewsDevin Matthews, Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences

Devin Matthews is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry in the Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences. His CV illustrates his prolific scholarly activity. It boasts impressive grants and a significant number of articles, highlighting his dedication to both research and teaching. One of the letters of recommendation pointed out that many of Devin’s students mentioned that they “had fun” in his Physical Chemistry (Quantum Mechanics) class and to have those students call that class “fun” is a testament of how gifted of an educator Matthews is. His teaching philosophy, which very specifically outlines the techniques he uses in his teaching, showcased a thoughtful and intentional pedagogical style. A unique aspect of his teaching is tying participation grades to office hours visits and attendance, ensuring a direct connection between student engagement and personalized interaction.

Click on the link to access a list of previous recipients.

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.


2023 Recipient:


Nishiki Sugawara-BedaNishiki Sugawara-Beda, Meadows School of the Arts

Nishiki Sugawara-Beda is an Associate Professor of Art in the Meadows School of the Arts. The committee noted that her dossier showed an exceptional link between her scholarly pursuits and student learning, fostering a dynamic educational experience. She goes above and beyond to establish a profound connection with each student, identifying their strengths and guiding them to recognize their unique potential. Professor Beda’s commitment to enriching the learning environment is evident as she brings accomplished speakers to her classes, facilitating direct interaction between students and scholars. Her teaching effectiveness is underscored by consistently outstanding evaluations, receiving a perfect 5 out of 5 rating on several of them. Additionally, a glowing letter of recommendation attests to her impactful teaching methods, with colleagues expressing personal growth from the experience of sitting in her course.

Click on the link to access a list of past recipients.

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.

2023 Recipients:

Matthew Boulanger

Matthew Boulanger, Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences

Matthew Boulanger is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology in the Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences. He is also the Director of the Archaeology Research Collective (ARC). Having been nominated for the award previously, he demonstrates a sustained dedication to exceptional teaching. Professor Boulanger’s meticulously crafted teaching statement stood out from the rest. Notably, the integration of his very own research into his teaching of very large introductory classes set him apart. His letters of recommendation from SMU faculty colleagues underscored that he does a great job making connections between several topics, highly engages and excites students, employs effective self-deprecating humor to his teaching, and is a fabulous university citizen. His ability to help students see the world beyond common assumptions and navigate challenging topics is commendable, fostering excitement among students.  It was evident that he goes above and beyond teaching and takes on a significant amount of mentoring and student training.

LaiYee LeongLaiYee Leong, Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences


LaiYee Leong is a Lecturer in the Political Science Department in the Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences. She is also a Distinguished Fellow at the SMU Center for Presidential History and a Senior Fellow at the John G. Tower Center for Public Policy and International Affairs. One of Professor Leong’s letters of recommendation highlighted that “droves of students” arrive for her office hours, mentoring, and extracurricular support and she “engages students in academic conversations, encouraging them to see themselves as sitting in the same table as the scholars that they read.” Her teaching philosophy, which has a focus in creating empowered individuals, stood out with concrete examples of activities she employs in her classroom. For example, at the start of each semester, she invites students to generate questions that will direct their inquiry and let students take ownership of their learning process. Professor Leong’s teaching evaluations were very positive and included comments such as “I think Dr. Leong is the best professor in the department. She fostered a classroom environment that made me feel comfortable participating even if I was wrong.”

Click on the link to see a list of prior winners of this award.