Associate professor wins Transformative Online Education award for a second time

Karabi Bezboruah, public affairs associate professor, was awarded the 2021 UTA President’s Award for Transformative Online Education in March for providing exceptional online teaching.

The yearly award is given to professors who shine in the area of virtual teaching, said Anna Hollis, manager for digital education programs and policy.

Hollis said that while the award itself hasn’t changed, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how instructors teach their courses and widened the scope of who could be considered for the award.

“But we are looking for a faculty member who is shining in this area,” she said.

First awarded in 2002, the award is selected by a five-person committee made up of administration, university leadership, faculty and staff, along with the previous year’s winner.

The committee reaches out to the dean of each college and asks them to nominate someone that meets their criteria.

The committee then reviews syllabi, information about the candidate’s teaching philosophy and letters of recommendation submitted by the nominee in order to select the winner, Hollis said.

Bezboruah teaches administration and policy courses in the Department of Public Affairs.

She teaches core courses in the nonprofit management specialization track and manages the graduate certificate in urban nonprofit management.

Her research includes cross sector collaboration, nonprofit management and leadership, strategic management, community development and more.

Bezboruah said she loves what she does and brings in values of sincerity and passion, which help ensure that her students take her course seriously and stay engaged in course content.

She said her students do better when she communicates how an assignment and lecture will help them in their future career.

She tries to be available on Teams to answer any student questions throughout the week.

Aya Kouaho, public administration graduate student, is one of the students who wrote a recommendation letter for Bezboruah.

Kouaho said Bezboruah is very patient and takes the time to walk students through questions no matter what they are.

Bezboruah said she understands that students need more social support and compassion during the pandemic.

“Your health is more important. Your family is more important. So that comes first and then comes the course,” she said.

This marks the second time Bezboruah has won the award. Her first win was in 2017. She was also awarded the Teaching Excellence Award by the U.S. Distance Learning Association in 2020.

She will be recognized as one of the winners of UTA’s 2021 teaching honors at the Spring Meeting of the University Faculty and Associates happening April 27.


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