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Dr. Flaitz Wins UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award

Friday, August 29, 2014 - 10:07am

Dr. Catherine Flaitz accepts a UT Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award from (left to right) Dr. Raymond Greenberg, executive vice chancellor for health affairs; Paul L. Foster, chair of the Board of Regents; Flaitz; Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, chancellor; and Regent Robert Stillwell.

Dr. Catherine Flaitz accepts a UT Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award from (left to right) Dr. Raymond Greenberg, executive vice chancellor for health affairs; Paul L. Foster, chair of the Board of Regents; Flaitz; Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, chancellor; and Regent Robert Stillwell.

Distinguished Teaching Professor Catherine M. Flaitz, DDS, MS, of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Dentistry was one of nine UTHealth faculty members chosen to receive a UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, recognizing those who deliver the highest quality of instruction in the classroom, laboratory, field or online.

A former dean of UTHealth School of Dentistry, Flaitz was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the new dental school building.  She is a tenured professor in the Department of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences, where her research is centered on the pathogenesis, diagnosis and novel management of oral diseases in children and immunocompromised individuals.

Award winners each received $25,000 and were honored Aug. 20 at a ceremony in UT-Austin’s Shirley Bird Perry Ballroom in the Texas Union.  At the awards dinner, Board of Regents Chair Paul L. Foster quoted Flaitz in his opening comments, referencing her view of what it means to be a teacher. 

“Teaching can be compared to the performing arts,” she wrote. “It demands expertise and immersion into the subject, genuine engagement of the audience, a believable storytelling quality and a passion for creating a stimulating environment. The goal is to leave the learners on the edge of their seats so they are hungry for more.”

Other award winners from UTHealth include Michelle S. Barratt, MD; Patricia M. Butler, MD; Lillian S. Kao, MD, MS and Kevin A. Morano, PhD, all of the Medical School; Joanne V. Hickey, PhD, RN, of the School of Nursing; M. Sriram Iyengar, PhD, School of Biomedical Informatics; Beatrice J. Selwin, ScD, School of Public Health and Margaret O’Brien Caughy, ScD, of the School of Public Health’s Dallas campus.

“The UTHealth faculty members who have been honored with this prestigious teaching award exemplify the dedication of UTHealth in providing the highest level of education for our students,” said UTHealth President Giuseppe Colasurdo, MD.

Faculty members were assessed on criteria including classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes. A total of 39 new members from UT System health institutions were elected this year.

“It is the UT System’s responsibility to provide a world-class education for students at our institutions,” said Regent Robert L. Stillwell, who chairs the Health Affairs Committee for the Board of Regents. “Recognizing teaching excellence is an important part of the overall commitment to improving the quality of higher education across the state.”

The UT System educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for nearly 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. A complete list of winners by institution can be found on the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards website.

UTHealth educates more health care professionals than any other health-related institution in Texas.