The Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church has sponsored the University Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award at Syracuse University each year since 1982 to recognize the teaching and scholarship of an outstanding professor. This award gives explicit emphasis to the dual nature of a faculty member’s responsibilities as a scholar or creative artist and as a teacher. To recognize the excellent faculty across the University, nominations rotate among the schools and colleges.In the spring semester of the academic year, the Chancellor approves the recipient.
- recognize the union of scholarship and creative endeavor with teaching
- recognize recipients not just as scholars or as teachers but as embodiments of the ideal combination of scholarly endeavor and effective teaching
- recognize faculty members’ individual efforts in support of the institution’s goals and priorities, as well as collaborative efforts
- recognize the diversity of scholarly and creative endeavors undertaken by members of the faculty and the reinforcement that scholarship and creative acts bring to teaching
The award carries a stipend of $2,000.
Demonstration of exceptional teaching. There are many ways of being an excellent teacher and advisor; what they have in common is that they result in outstanding student learning.
Recognized concern for students and colleagues and sensitivity to the mission of the church-related university. Faculty members’ concern or regard for students and colleagues and for the learning community, which are fundamental to the concept of the student-centered research, will be evident in the degree to which they are seen by students as approachable and responsive and in the initiatives they take to better serve students. Collegial concern is more than mere affability; it includes cooperative and constructive interactions with other members of the academic community. The University’s mission as a church-related institution is, today, difficult to define. The chapel on the main quadrangle remains the most visible evidence of the University’s historic roots. Nevertheless, manifest concern for integrity, truth, and justice, as well as service to the community and to the larger human family are values embraced by the United Methodist Church and the University alike.
A record of significant contributions to the scholarly life of the University. Through their scholarship and creative endeavors, faculty members link the University to the larger world and bring to their students and colleagues the most advanced thinking and creative perspectives from around the world. Through their intellectual leadership and engagement with their colleagues, faculty members also build the University as a learning community. By bringing students into their research and creative processes, members of the faculty initiate a new generation into the most challenging and rewarding aspects of higher education.
Commitment to high standards of professional and personal life. It is fitting that an award sponsored by the United Methodist Church should recognize high standards in the personal and professional life of the recipients. Many virtues such as integrity, generosity, and courage may be invisible to the community at large. It is important, however, that those who are close to the award recipients should easily recognize in them a firm commitment to high personal and professional standards, and that that commitment be communicated to their students and colleagues alike.
2015-16 United Methodist Scholar-Teacher of the Year: Professor Tara Helfman
Tara Helfman is associate professor of law in the College of Law.