Four named 2013-15 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors

2013-15 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors Robert Krout, Luis Maldonado, Sheri Kunovich and Thomas Carr
Four SMU professors were honored with 2013-15 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professorships during the University’s May Board of Trustees meeting (left to right): Robert Krout, Luis Maldonado, Sheri Kunovich and Thomas Carr.

Four of SMU’s best teachers have been named 2013-15 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors, as announced by the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence. This year’s honorees are Thomas Carr, Mathematics, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; Robert Krout, Music Therapy, Meadows School of the Arts; Sheri Kunovich, Sociology, Dedman College; and Luis Maldonado, World Languages (Spanish), Dedman College.

The new members of SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers will join returning members Carrie La Ferle, Advertising, Meadows School of the Arts; Tom Mayo, Law, Dedman School of Law; and James Sullivan, Art, Meadows School of the Arts.

Each year since 2001, the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Awards recognize 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.

More about this year’s honored professors under the link.

Thomas Carr is an associate professor of mathematics in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and teaches a wide range of courses, from beginning undergraduates to advanced graduate courses. His recognitions for excellence in teaching include a 1999-2000 Golden Mustang Outstanding Faculty Award and two student-chosen HOPE (Honoring Our Professors’ Excellence) Awards. For the past year, he has been working with a colleague in the Department of Mathematics to test different teaching methods both qualitatively and quantitatively – an endeavor that will provide data that may impact math education both at SMU and on a national level.

Robert Krout is a professor of music therapy in SMU’s Meadows School of  the Arts. He has received the Meadows School of the Arts Outstanding Teaching Professor Award and the University Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award. In addition, he has worked closely with Residence Life and Student Housing to help establish Faculty in Residence (FiR) criteria for SMU’s Residential Commons experience. In spring 2013, Krout was named one of the University’s three “Founding FiRs”; he will move into the renovated Mary Hay Hall to begin his service this summer.

Sheri Locklear Kunovich is an associate professor of sociology in Dedman College. Since coming to SMU in 2004, she has taught seven different classes and has directed dozens of undergraduate distinction projects, independent study projects, and student internships. She was a co-organizer of the 2012 symposium “Gender at the Lectern” and in 2013 was facilitator of the Faculty Learning Community on “Rethinking the Writing Assignment.” She received a  2009-10 Golden Mustang Outstanding Faculty Award for excellence in teaching.

Luis Maldonado-Peña is an associate professor of world languages and literature in Dedman College, where he teaches upper-division Spanish courses. A recipient of the Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award, he also represents Dedman College on the SMU Faculty Senate. He receives high marks from students for choosing challenging material, using technology wisely, and leading classroom discussions in which both native and non-native speakers feel comfortable participating. Many have reported that his teaching inspired them to major in Spanish.