This award is presented to a faculty member or instructor who shows significant courage and commitment to teaching and learning by daring to stick out his/her neck to make radical changes and innovations to his/her teaching practices not knowing what the outcomes might be, and being willing to share the struggles and triumphs of the journey with the community of teachers, to help them learn from his/her experience. Each spring, CETaL Fellows are asked for suggestions of a worthy recipient, but anyone else is also welcome to relay ideas to the Director.
The 2015-16 Giraffe winner is Kien Lim of Mathematical Sciences, who initiated and leads broad-based efforts to foster a culture and community of greater loving kindness at UTEP, organizing one or more Sun Conference presentations each of the past three years, convening monthly meetings, launching a student group Miners for Kindness, organizing an official "Community of Practice", initiating related group endeavors on mindfulness and well-being, and raising awareness about simple practices that cultivate a culture of caring and remind us that we do not just teach subjects, we teach people.
The 2014-15 Giraffe winner is Brenda Risch of Women’s and Gender Studies, who faced great challenge and risk in establishing an interdisciplinary new major and minor as well as authentic mentoring and community-based internship experiences for program students. She generously extended herself to give voice to vulnerable populations and to important but difficult issues. She inspired and informed how and why many faculty in and beyond her college integrate diversity issues into their scholarship and teaching.
The 2013-14 Giraffe winner is Ivonne Santiago, Clinical Professor of Civil Engineering. Dr. Santiago made great efforts to build and sustain connections with the local professional community in order to revamp a senior capstone course to offer students real-life projects and even model the real-world competition that teams would face working on the same project. These outcomes were specifically acknowledged by the discipline’s accreditation organization as an example of what students should be doing in preparation for the profession and have inspired alumni to donate licenses for software used by consultants in the field.
The 2012-13 Giraffe winner is Fernando Jiménez Arévalo, Assistant Professor of Marketing. With great honesty and courage, Dr. Jiménez Arévalo undertook a journey to become a student-centered teacher and was willing to share the challenges and rewards of this real-life process in this excellent video: Transforming teaching.