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May 8, 2003

SMU Honors Four As University Distinguished Teaching Professors

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DALLAS (SMU) -- Four SMU faculty members have been named University Distinguished Teaching Professors and will become members of the SMU Academy of Distinguished Teachers. They are William Abraham, Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies; Annemarie Weyl Carr, University Distinguished Professor of Art History; Rita Whillock, professor of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs; and Wayne Woodward, professor of Statistics.

Each honoree will receive a $10,000 award, which was made possible by a $250,000 gift from SMU Trustee Ruth Altshuler, and will serve a two-year appointment to the SMU Academy of Distinguished Teachers. They will participate in symposia, workshops and other forums that allow them to share their teaching philosophies and experiences with colleagues and students.

SMU Provost Ross C Murfin makes the selection after reviewing recommendations from the university's Center for Teaching Excellence, which considers nominations by students, faculty and deans.

"The choice is always a difficult one because all of the candidates have superb records in teaching and working with students," Murfin said. "Each faculty member brings his or her unique style to their classroom approach. It is this individuality among the candidates that reinforces our belief that there is no magic formula for successful teaching."

William AbrahamLong walks on campus, talking over coffee and frequent interaction are the key to William Abraham's success with his students. The Perkins School of Theology professor supervises Ph.D. candidates in theology and philosophy. He's interested in developing their unique personal as well as what he calls "intellectual virtue." Abraham joined the university in 1985. He received his D. Phil in philosophical theology from the University of Oxford in 1977. He teaches historical, philosophical and systematic theology with a special interest in Wesley Studies and has written numerous articles and eight books in these areas. Among his many honors, Abraham is the recipient of a grant from the Pew Evangelical Scholars Program and the Lilly Foundation. He developed a contemporary catechumen for the United Methodist Church, of which he is an ordained minister. He preaches and lectures extensively in the U.S, Europe and central Asia.

William AbrahamSince coming to the university in 1972, Annemarie Weyl Carr has been recognized seven times for her outstanding teaching. Her philosophy is to maintain student's enthusiasm, while honing their skills as sophisticated thinkers. She teaches in SMU's Meadows School of the Arts. Weyl Carr received her Ph.D. in art history from the University of Michigan in 1973. She has written two books on her specialty, Byzantine art. Chosen as a Phi Beta Kappa visiting lecturer and scholar, she has traveled to many American universities to lecture and meet with students and faculty. She is the president of the International Center of Medieval Art and on the Executive Committee of the U.S. National Committee of Byzantine Studies. Weyl Carr is the past chair of SMU's Division of Art History.

Rita WhillockSince coming to the university in 1991, Rita Whillock has been recognized six times for outstanding teaching. Her philosophy calls for making room for failure, finding opportunities for students to participate in competitions outside the classroom, and never presuming to know all the answers. Whillock received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Missouri at Columbia. In the Meadows School, she teaches courses in research methods, public opinion and public policy, persuasion, and media and politics. Whillock is the author of numerous articles on communications and three books, one of which Hate Speech, was recognized as an Outstanding Book by several American human rights organizations. In addition to teaching, she regularly consults to nonprofits, business and political campaigns about communication strategies.

Wayne WoodwardWayne Woodward has helped guide several graduate students through their dissertations. His strength is being able to explain quantitative material at a level appropriate for his audience. He received his Ph.D. in mathematical statistics from Texas Tech University in 1974. Woodward has taught at SMU for most of his career aside from a short tenure at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas from 1979 to 1981. He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and past chair of SMU's Department of Statistical Science. Among his many research interests, Woodward has analyzed global temperature data in a study of global warming funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. He has written more than 50 articles in his field.