WILLIAMSTOWN -- Three scholar/teachers from U.S. universities have been selected as finalists for Baylor University's 2010 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, the single largest award given to an individual for exceptional teaching.
The award winner, who will be announced in spring 2010, will receive $200,000 plus $25,000 for his home department and will teach in residence at Baylor during fall 2010 or spring 2011.
The three finalists are: Dr. Edward B. Burger, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Gaudino Scholar, Williams College; Dr. Roger Rosenblatt, Distinguished Professor of English, Stony Brook University; and Dr. Elliott West, Alumni Distinguished Professor of History, University of Arkansas.
Burger has taught mathematics at Williams College since 1990. Since that time, he has been honored with numerous teaching awards, including the 2007 Award of Excellence from Technology & Learning magazine, the 2006 Reader's Digest "100 Best of America" as Best Math Teacher, and the 2006 Lester R. Ford Award, the 2004 Chauvenet Prize and the 2001 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College Teaching of Mathematics, all from the Mathematical Association of America.
During his distinguished 40-year career as an English professor, author, columnist, essayist and playwright, Rosenblatt"s list of awards and honors includes a Fulbright Scholarship to Ireland, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Prize, two George Foster Peabody Awards for "distinguished achievement and meritorious public service," five honorary doctorates, two George Polk Awards for journalism and an Emmy Award.
West is a specialist in the social and environmental history of the American West. He is the author of seven books and more than 100 book chapters, articles and book reviews in national history journals and publications.
The Cherry Award program is designed to honor great teachers, to stimulate discussion in the academy about the value of teaching and to encourage departments and institutions to value their own great teachers. Individuals nominated for the award should have a proven record as an extraordinary teacher with a positive, inspiring and long-lasting effect on students, along with a record of distinguished scholarship.
The award was created by Robert Foster Cherry, who earned his A.B. from Baylor in 1929. He enrolled in the Baylor Law School in 1932 and passed the Texas State Bar Examination the following year. With a deep appreciation for how his life had been changed by significant teachers, he made an exceptional estate bequest to establish the Cherry Award program to recognize excellent teachers and bring them in contact with Baylor students.
The first Robert Foster Cherry Award was made in 1991 and has since been awarded biennially.
The Cherry finalists each will receive $15,000 and will present a series of lectures at Baylor during the fall. In addition, each finalist will present a Cherry Award Lecture on their home campuses during the upcoming academic year. The home department of the finalists also will receive $10,000 to foster the development of teaching skills.
The winner of the Cherry Award, announced in spring 2010, will receive a total of $215,000 and $35,000 for his home department.