COLLEGE STATION, Texas, March 4, 2009 - Mahmoud
El-Halwagi, professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical
Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been named a recipient
of the first-ever Teaching Excellence Award, a voluntary,
student-selected honors program launched last fall by The Texas
A&M University System.
The winners represent the top 18 percent of the nearly 500
faculty members who participated. Awards are based on rankings from
evaluations created and administered by students, with weighting
for factors such as class size.
As part of the program, a total of 80 faculty members from
the Texas A&M University, Prairie View A&M University and
Texas A&M University-Kingsville have been honored. El-Halwagi
is one of only 10 faculty members at Texas A&M designated in
the top three percent category. Faculty members ranking in the top
three percent will be awarded $5,000 to $10,000. The next 15
percent receive $2,500 to $5,000.
"Although I am very active in research, extension and
service activities, I truly consider teaching to be a primary
passion and a very rewarding aspect of the job," El-Halwagi said.
"I am also fortunate to be able to bring my research findings to
the classroom and to get valuable feedback from the students. To
have the opportunity of impacting the students and contributing to
their education and professional development is a tremendous
responsibility that I take with seriousness, delight, pride and
honor. I am truly thrilled to receive an award that is driven and
led by students. This means a whole lot to me.
"The overarching concept in my teaching philosophy is
Ã¢â'¬Ëœone student at a time.' Regardless of the class size, I
endeavor to create an individual learning experience for each and
In a congratulatory letter to faculty winners, a
representative of Student-Led Awards for Teaching Excellence
(SLATE), the student organization that administered the evaluations
at Texas A&M, lauded the award winners' efforts as going "above
and beyond the typical expectations to deliver a first-rate
The $1.1 million program, funded through the Texas A&M
System, was initiated by Chancellor Michael D. McKinney in 2008 to
honor and financially reward the system's top teachers as selected
by students. For the spring 2009 semester, the program is expanding
to all nine campuses of the Texas A&M System and will increase
to include the top 20 percent of participating faculty. All faculty
members are eligible.
"We are off to a tremendous start in our pilot year,"
McKinney said. "In this time of economic hardship, I am especially
happy that we can help those hard-working educators who devote
their lives to our students and to the future of the state of
Texas. As the teaching awards program continues to grow and evolve,
I think we'll see a positive effect on the morale of our teachers,
the interactivity of our students and the quality of the classroom
experience for everyone."
A reception for the honorees is scheduled to take place
from 3-5 p.m., March 6th in the rotunda of the Academic