Rick Halperin honored for teaching excellence

<img alt="Rick Halperin" src="http://www.smu.edu/News/2008/~/media/Images/News/Thumbnails/rick-halperin-10sept2008.ashx?w=150&h=150&as=1" align="left" style="padding-right:5px" Rick Halperin, director of SMU’s Human Rights Education Program in Dedman College, has received a 2009 Piper Professor award from the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation.

The Piper Professor Program honors superior teaching in Texas colleges and universities. Nominations are requested annually from all accredited institutions of higher learning in the state, and 15 awards are given each year.

The award selection committee “seek(s) out the well-rounded, outgoing teacher, devoted to the profession, who has made special impact on his students and the community.” An adjunct lecturer in the Clements Department of History, Halperin also teaches in the Human Rights Education Program as well as in SMU’s Master of Liberal Studies program.

“The Piper Professor Award is especially important because it is for outstanding teaching, and only 15 are awarded,” says Kathleen Hugley-Cook, director of SMU’s Office of National Fellowships and Awards. “At SMU, our nominee is selected through colleague nomination. So this Piper Award is deeply meaningful not only because there was exceptional support from former students for Dr. Halperin’s nomination, but also because it represents immense respect from his faculty colleagues across the University. He makes a great difference to our entire community, and his great teaching has a lasting impact on students and faculty alike.”

A longtime human rights advocate and member of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA, Halperin regularly leads SMU groups on human rights educational journeys to places such as Cambodia, Rwanda, South Africa, El Salvador, Bosnia and numerous Holocaust sites across Europe. Every December he takes a group to death camps and other Holocaust sites in Poland for two weeks.

Halperin was chair of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA from 1992-93 and again from 2005-07. He is a member of the National Death Penalty Advisory Committee and the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and served as President from 2000-06 and again in 2007-08.