Students honor teachers

The students have spoken and the results are in for the Student Choice Teacher Awards.

Students sent in approximately 150 nominations for the honor of best teacher, which is more than five times the amount of nominations ever received since the awards were established in 1993.

Steve Preece and his academic affairs board members from the Associated Students of the University of Utah spent “a week straight” looking over applications and reading essays to narrow the large selection of professors down to 11.

The winners and those who nominated them had the chance to say a few words about how they felt about being selected and why they made the selections Tuesday night at the Rosenblatt House.

The 22 speeches were long, but heartfelt, some of them causing teachers to react with emotion.

“I am completely humbled,” said Emily Swan. Her nominator, Jami Hill, gave her credit for changing her life for the better.

Student Aaron Senior failed the first time he took a math class from Kelly MacArthur. The way she treated him afterward was the reason he chose her for the award.

“She told me to go again…She cared,” Senior said.

MacArthur, in her first year of full-time teaching, said she was “glad to get some confirmation that [she] was on the right track.”

Another student, Mondi Basmenji, said she both hated and loved her professor of advanced American national government, Robert Benedict.

“There are more readings on reserve from this class than the entire political science department combined,” she said. “But I realize he didn’t want to torture his students. He wouldn’t dream of starving them from extended learning and understanding.”

The ASUU Academic Affairs Board selected each professor based on how much he or she has gone beyond minimum requirements, organization, his or her challenges to and concern for students, accessibility, help offered beyond the classroom and teach. According to Preece, each of the teachers were the best in these categories.

Some common traits of the professors that students mentioned were passion for their work, trustworthiness, helpfulness, humor and care.

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Student Choice Awards Recipients

Robert BenedictJim FisherRobert HuefnerKeven JohansenBob JohnsonErik JorgensenKelly MacArthurTheresa MartinezMark NielsonBill RichardsEmily Swan