The University of Texas System Board of Regents announced that UTEP faculty members Giulio Francia, Ph.D., and Irma Montelongo, Ph.D., were among the 2018 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award recipients.
The Regents will recognize Francia, assistant professor of biological sciences, and Montelongo, associate professor of practice/online program coordinator for Chicano/a Studies, during a reception Aug. 9, 2018, in Austin, Texas.
This is the 10th year that the Regents have presented these highly prestigious and competitive awards of excellence to faculty members from its eight academic and six health institutions. Each of this year’s 27 honorees will receive $25,000.
“We are very pleased that The University of Texas System Board of Regents has recognized two of our exceptional faculty members,” University President Diana Natalicio said. “This well-deserved acknowledgement of Dr. Giulio Francia and Dr. Irma Montelongo is a source of great pride to all of us. They are powerful examples of the many talented and passionate UTEP faculty members whose deep commitment to teaching profoundly impacts our students as they develop and successfully pursue their highest aspirations.”
Carol A. Parker, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said this recognition brings great pride to The University of Texas at El Paso, where faculty commitment to student success is well known.
“This Regents’ recognition further validates UTEP’s commitment to exceptional instruction in the classroom and our faculty’s ongoing dedication to our students, our community and our mission of access and excellence,” Provost Parker said. “I’m honored to work alongside our two 2018 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award winners. I applaud this acknowledgement.”
Francia grew up in Mozambique and Swaziland in southeastern Africa. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Bristol and his Ph.D. in biology from Cancer Research UK, formerly known as Imperial Cancer Research Fund, in London, England. He worked in cancer research at the University of Toronto, Canada, before taking his first teaching job at UTEP in 2012.
“When I learned about the ROTA, I felt what would best be described as bewilderment,” Francia said. “So many UTEP colleagues and friends, and students, had helped prepare my submission. I could now call them to once again say ‘thanks,’ and let them know that their help had earned another recognition for our teaching efforts at UTEP. And that was quite a marvelous feeling.”
Montelongo earned her higher education degrees from UTEP. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history in 2001 and 2003, respectively, and her doctorate in borderlands history in 2014. The El Paso native began to teach at UTEP as a graduate student. Since then she has held many titles and earned many state, community and University awards.
“I owe a great deal of thanks to so many people who have mentored and supported me along the way, but I especially owe thanks to my students who inspire me on a daily basis,” Montelongo said. “It’s an amazing feeling to wake up every day and know that I will be spending the majority of my day on the UTEP campus collaborating with a brilliant group of individuals, students, staff, and faculty. I am proud to be part of the UTEP family as we continue to make a difference in the lives of our students, our community and our region.”
Nominees undergo a series of rigorous evaluations by students, peer faculty and external reviewers. The review panels consider a range of activities and criteria in their evaluations of a candidate’s teaching performance, including classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes.
“We are indebted to these educators who exemplify great teaching on every level,” Board of Regents Chairman Sara Martinez Tucker said. “These are educators, researchers and health care professionals who – no matter how long they’ve been teaching – never stop thinking about new and innovative ways to enhance the learning experience.”
The Regents’ established the award in 2008 to recognize faculty members who deliver the highest quality of instruction in the classroom, laboratory, field and online. These awards are among the largest in the nation to recognize faculty performance. The Regents have awarded more than $19 million to 700 UT educators in the last 10 years.
Including Francia and Montelongo, 70 faculty members from UTEP have received the award since its inception.