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Baylor University Honors Distinguished Williams College Math Professor With The Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching

Jan. 15, 2010

Baylor University has named Dr. Edward B. Burger, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Gaudino Scholar at Williams College in Massachusetts, as the 2010 recipient of the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, the only national teaching award - with the single largest monetary reward of $200,000 - presented by a college or university to an individual for exceptional teaching.

"Baylor University is very pleased to honor Dr. Edward Burger, truly one of our nation's most outstanding, passionate and creative mathematics professors, with Baylor's 2010 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching," said Baylor Interim President David E. Garland.

"During our more than 160-year history, Baylor University has been recognized nationally for the emphasis we place on exceptional classroom teaching. Our students already benefit daily from our notable faculty, who understand and greatly appreciate the value of teaching," Garland said. "The Cherry Award allows us to extend that experience by bringing to our campus some of the world's greatest teachers, such as Dr. Burger. We congratulate our 2010 Cherry Award recipient and we look forward to welcoming him to Baylor University in the fall."

The Cherry Award program at Baylor 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 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.

Burger visited the Baylor campus in October 2009 to present a Cherry Finalist Lecture on "The Art of Exploring Invisible Worlds: Thinking Through the Fourth Dimension." As the 2010 Cherry Award recipient, he will receive the $200,000 award, plus $25,000 for his home department at Williams College. He will teach in residence at Baylor during fall 2010.

"The Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching committee was very pleased with the strength of the applications for the 2010 award," said Dr. Heidi J. Hornik, professor of art history and chair of the Cherry Award Committee. "All three finalists had successful visits and lectures on campus last fall. Dr. Burger demonstrated that he was not only a leading educator in his field but that he has truly committed his life to the effective teaching of mathematics."

"I am extremely honored and humbled to learn that I will receive the 2010 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching," Burger said. "Now more than ever, our country is ready to begin a critical and honest discussion on the core tenets of education, which in my opinion include inspiring minds, fostering creative thinking and changing lives; and to consider imaginative means by which to realize these important goals. I hope that through Baylor University's deep commitment to teaching, I will be able to add my voice to this important national conversation. I am also delighted and honored to be invited to join the Baylor community and look forward to collaborating with and getting to know the students, faculty, staff and alumni of Baylor University."

Burger's national reputation has allowed him to serve as a consultant for the "NUMB3RS in the Classroom Project" with CBS-TV/Paramount Studios/Texas Instruments and most recently with NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, on "The Science of the Olympic Winter Games." The 16-part video series, which explores the science behind individual Olympic events, will air on the "Today Show" and throughout the 2010 Winter Olympics coverage on NBC-TV. Burger is featured in the "Mathletes" segment, in which he discusses the math found in the Olympic games.

Hornik said that although Burger's main focus is on undergraduate education, the Williams professor also