The University Faculty and Associates will present a new award and recognize new, current and retiring faculty in the fall meeting Tuesday.

A brand new teaching award will be presented to Cecilia Flores in the meeting at 4 p.m. today in the Rio Grande Ballroom of the University Center, David Silva, vice provost for academic affairs, said.

The endowment award is named in honor of former UTA political science professor Bill Ward. Ward's brother, Edgar "Rusty" Ward, who is a former UTA vice president for finance, created the $1000 endowment. This year it goes to one non tenure track faculty member who demonstrated exemplary work ethic, love of working with students and evidence of having made a significant impact on enhancing the goals of the University.

Flores, a student success coordinator in the College of Nursing said she knew her name was submitted for the award in August but did not expect to be selected.

“I absolutely was not expecting it, but am very delighted to get it,” Flores said.

Flores said she was honored when she learned she would be recognized and was pleasantly surprised to receive money along with the recognition.

Flores said she is renovating her kitchen, so the cash award comes at a perfect time.

Flores is in her sixth year at UTA. She said she enjoys watching nursing students grow and the supportive administration makes her job of helping students possible.

 “Seriously, I have the best job in the world. UTA is a fabulous place to work,” she said.     

Other faculty to be recognized are the 13 Emeriti professors, the seven faculty members who were presented with the UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards this August, and new faculty, Silva said.

Matthew Walsh is an assistant biology professor who came to UTA this fall from Yale. Walsh said he was impressed with the biology department and longstanding tradition of aquatic research. At Yale, Walsh researched predator prey in lakes.

“I knew I could do similar high quality research at UTA,” Walsh said.

Matthew Fujita is an assistant biology professor who came to UTA with research experience from Harvard and Oxford. Fujita said he has long heard of UTA’s reputation for having high quality herpetologists – scientists who study reptiles and amphibians.

Fujita studies lizard genomes and is interested in a type of lizard native to Texas called whiptails. There has been very little research done on whiptails, Fujita said. He said he hopes to learn more about them while at UTA.

Furthermore, Fujita said he wanted to be at a place that was growing rapidly.

 “The fact that UTA is growing at a fast pace is very exciting to me. I hope to be able to contribute to it becoming more prestigious,” Fujita said. 


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