2016 Cherry Award finalists named

cherry awards

Three preeminent scholar/teachers from U.S. universities have been selected as finalists for Baylor University’s 2016 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, the only national teaching award--with the single largest monetary reward of $250,000--presented by a college or university to an individual for exceptional teaching. The winning professor will be announced by Baylor in spring 2016.

The three finalists are:

  • Teresa C. Balser, PhD, professor of soil and water science, University of Florida,
  • Michelle Rae Hebl, PhD, professor of psychology and management, Rice University, and
  • Lisa Russ Spaar, MFA, professor of English and creative writing, University of Virginia.

As Cherry Award finalists, each professor will receive $15,000, as well as $10,000 for their home departments to foster the development of teaching skills. Each finalist will present a series of lectures at Baylor during fall 2015 and also a Cherry Award lecture on their home campuses during the upcoming academic year.

The eventual Cherry Award winner will receive $250,000 and an additional $25,000 for her home department and will teach in residence at Baylor during fall 2016 or spring 2017.

"The Cherry Committee has the difficult task of naming three finalists from a strong field of more than 100 nominees for the 2016 Cherry Award," said Michael W. Thompson, PhD, committee chair and associate dean for undergraduate programs in Baylor's School of Engineering and Computer Science.

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. Each individual nominated for the award has 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 AB from Baylor in 1929. More about the Cherry Award is available at www.baylor.edu/cherry_awards