CTE names 2011-13 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors

SMU's Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors, 2011-13Four of SMU’s best teachers have been named 2011-13 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors by the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence. This year’s honorees are Marc Christensen, Electrical Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering; Alyce McKenzie, Homiletics, Perkins School of Theology; David Son, Chemistry, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; and Greg Warden, Art History, Meadows School of the Arts.

The new members of SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers will join returning members Johan Elverskog, Religious Studies, Dedman College; Randall Griffin, Art History, Meadows School of the Arts; Roy Heller, Old Testament, Perkins School of Theology; and Donald VandeWalle, Management and Organizations, Cox School of Business.

Each year since 2001, the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Awards recognize four SMU faculty members for their commitment to and achievements in fostering student learning. “These are faculty whose concerns for higher education go beyond classroom boundaries and often the boundaries of their own discipline,” according to the CTE website. “They represent the highest achievement in reaching the goals of higher education.” The professorships are named for SMU Trustee Ruth Altshuler.

Each recipient receives a $10,000 award and membership in SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers for the two years of their appointment as Altshuler Professors. Members participate actively with other members of the Academy to address issues in classroom teaching.

Above, the new Altshuler Professors were honored by the SMU Board of Trustees during its May 2011 meeting (left to right): SMU President R. Gerald Turner, Greg Warden, David Son, Alyce McKenzie, Marc Christensen and SMU Trustee Ruth Altshuler.

Marc Christensen is the Bobby B. Lyle Professor in Engineering Innovation and chair of the Electrical Engineering Department in Lyle School of Engineering. His research focuses on integrated photonic signal processing, computational imaging, optical interconnections and photonic neural interfaces. His honors for teaching and research include the 2004 SEJC Electrical Engineering Department Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award, the 2007 SMU Golden Mustang Award, the 2007 DARPA Young Faculty Award, a 2008 Ford Research Fellowship, and the 2010 SEJC Electrical Engineering Department Outstanding Professor Award.

Alyce McKenzie is the George W. and Nell Ayers LeVan Endowed Chair of Preaching and Worship in Perkins School of Theology. She is one of the nation’s most widely recognized authorities on the wisdom tradition in the Bible, particularly as expressed in preaching, and her current research involves the creative process of preparing and delivering sermons. In 2010, she began writing a blog on lectionary preaching that attracts more than 2,000 readers each week. In 2012, she will be president of the Academy of Homiletics, the most prestigious guild of academicians working on the topic of preaching in North America.

David Son is an associate professor of chemistry in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. His primary research interests are the synthesis of new multidentate ligands for supramolecular assembly, and the syntheses and applications of novel organosilicon monomers, polymers and dendrimers. His work seeks to create compounds that can be used to improve materials and processes ranging from optics to plastics manufacturing. Students selected him to receive HOPE (Honoring Our Professors’ Excellence) Awards for outstanding teaching in 2003 and 2011.

Greg Warden is University Distinguished Professor of Art History and associate dean for academic affairs in Meadows School of the Arts. His expertise as an archaeologist and art historian extends to a broad range of art from the ancient Mediterranean, especially the art and culture of ancient Italy. Since 1995, he has directed the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project and SMU’s Poggio Colla field school, which has welcomed students from more than 60 universities. He has received the Rotunda Award for outstanding teaching from the SMU student body and was named the 1996-97 Meadows Foundation Distinguished Teaching Professor.