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Two CNS Faculty Receive President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Awards

Two CNS Faculty Receive President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Awards
Laura Lashinger (left) and Sally Ragsdale are recipients of the annual President's Associates Teaching Excellence Awards.

Laura Lashinger and Sally Ragsdale, two College of Natural Sciences faculty members, have been named recipients of the annual President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award for the 2020-2021 academic year. The award recognizes the university's educational innovators who demonstrate exceptional undergraduate teaching in the core curriculum, including signature courses, and engage with curriculum reform and educational innovation.

Lashinger, associate professor of instruction in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, and Ragsdale, associate professor of instruction in the Department of Statistics and Data Sciences, join five other faculty members from across the university in being honored.

"The President's Associates Teaching Excellence Awards is one of the ways we celebrate the amazing educators we have on campus," said UT president Jay Hartzell. "My congratulations to each of the seven award winners. Great teachers do more than disseminate knowledge – world-class faculty inspire students to hone their talents and find their passions so they can lead fulfilling lives and change the world."

Lashinger received a B.S.N. in nursing from the University of Virginia and in her early career, worked as a staff nurse in several health care facilities. Then she became extremely curious about the role of nutrition in cancer and decided to shift gears. She went to the UT Health Science Center at Houston and earned a doctoral degree in cancer biology. She then did postdoctoral research at the UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. In 2006, she came to UT Austin as a postdoctoral researcher, then worked as a research scientist before becoming a faculty member. She was recognized for excellence in teaching by The Alcalde magazine in 2016 as one of that year's "Texas 10."

Ragsdale received an M.S. in statistics from UT Austin in 2012 and then joined the faculty as an associate professor of instruction. She transformed an undergraduate biostatistics course into a flipped course with significant hands-on and lab learning opportunities. She helped develop an online platform for statistics students to identify the appropriate technique for a given problem. She serves as the undergraduate certificate program coordinator. She also serves on the CNS Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Committee, where she is co-chair of the Faculty Climate Sub-Committee. In 2018, she received the CNS Teaching Excellence Award.

The awards are made possible by contributions from the President's Associates — friends of the university who are committed to advancing education and research at UT Austin. Each recipient will receive a monetary award of $5,000.

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Sunday, 17 October 2021

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