News & Features

Two Faculty Receive Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award

bhasin and students

Amit Bhasin engages students in a presentation about the future of infrastructure materials and pavements.

The Board of Regents of The University of Texas System has chosen two faculty from the CAEE Department to receive the 2013 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards, its highest teaching honor.

Amit Bhasin and Kevin Folliard were recognized as educators who deliver the highest quality of undergraduate instruction through demonstrated excellence in teaching and sustained excellence in all aspects of instruction.

The awards program is one of the nation’s largest monetary teaching recognition programs in higher education, honoring outstanding performance in the classroom and dedication to innovation in undergraduate instruction.

A total of $1.6 million will be awarded to educators from all 15 UT System institutions during a ceremony on UT Austin campus. Each faculty member will receive monetary awards of $25,000.

“We are deeply grateful to the regents for their ongoing commitment to honor our very best and most dedicated faculty,” said UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa. “These awards recognize the immeasurable impact teachers have on our students, who will shape the future of our communities across Texas and the nation.”

“Every day of the academic year, Cockrell School faculty educate, challenge and inspire our undergraduate students to be engineering leaders,” said Cockrell School Dean Gregory L. Fenves. “I am very pleased that five of our outstanding faculty members have been honored by the UT System’s highest recognition for distinguished teaching.”

folliard and students

Students in the Concrete Materials engineering course, taught by professor Kevin Folliard, visited an aggregate quarry in Marble Falls on a field trip.

Established in 2008, the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards program recognizes educators who deliver the highest quality of undergraduate instruction through demonstrated excellence in teaching and sustained excellence in all aspects of instruction.

Assistant Professor Amit Bhasin has research and teaching interests in the area of infrastructure materials. He performs research that relates fundamental properties of constituent materials to the engineering performance of composites such as asphalt concrete mixtures.

“I believe that engineering education is not just about learning how to solve specific problems related to a discipline; it is about learning a way of thinking,” says Bhasin. “My teaching philosophy is to recognize and build upon students’ past experiences as I teach them new concepts and conventions. More importantly, I strive to use my subject matter as a medium to help students develop the ability to define and solve engineering problems. This is a timeless skill that will prepare future professionals to meet the growing and changing needs of the society.”

The research of Kevin Folliard, Austin Industries Endowed Teaching Fellow and professor, promotes increasing the service life of concrete. He created the Concrete Durability Center at UT Austin and is continually researching ways to make concrete more durable in the face of natural chemical reactions as well as physical forces such as freezing and thawing.

“Teaching has always been a passion for me, and I strive to translate this passion into excitement and curiosity in my students,” says Folliard. “Once I can pique a student’s interest on a given topic, I focus on first teaching the underlying science, and then relating this science to real-world applications. I have found this combination of passion, science and application to be incredibly valuable components in teaching tomorrow’s engineers.”

The full list of 2013 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award recipients is available online.