UTEP Faculty Win Prestigious Texas Teaching Accolade
The University of Texas System Board of Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award recognizes extraordinary classroom performance and innovation
EL PASO, Texas (Nov. 1, 2022) – Two faculty members from The University of Texas at El Paso have earned one of the top teaching awards in Texas – The University of Texas System Board of Regents’ 2022 Outstanding Teaching Award (ROTA).
Adeeba Raheem, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, and Diego Aguirre, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, are among 14 faculty members representing many of the UT academic and health institutions who received the award.
“I’m very thankful that Dr. Raheem and Dr. Aguirre chose to bring their talent and dedication to UTEP,” said UTEP President Heather Wilson. “They engage their students with intellectual rigor, compassion and understanding and they are beyond deserving of this honor.”
The ROTA was established in 2008 to recognize faculty for their extraordinary classroom performance and innovation. It is one of the nation’s largest awards programs honoring teachers in higher education and reinforces the Board of Regents' commitment to ensuring that UT institutions are places of intellectual exploration and discovery, educational excellence and unparalleled opportunity.
“The UT System Board of Regents is honored to recognize top educators annually for their extraordinary dedication to the students they are equipping to be our future leaders,” Board of Regents Chairman Kevin P. Eltife said.
Upon receiving her doctorate in construction management from the University of Florida in 2014, Raheem joined UTEP as a faculty member with the Department of Civil Engineering. She holds master’s degrees in building construction, environmental engineering and civil engineering. Her research interests include construction safety, construction management, sustainable construction and sustainable cities. She has mentored students since the beginning of her time at UTEP and brings her passion for learning and using the most efficient techniques and tools to manage construction projects into the classroom.
"To say that receiving this award is a tremendous honor would be an understatement,” Raheem said. “I am earnestly grateful to the UT System Board of Regents for recognizing my efforts as an educator, which has further invigorated my passion for inspiring and empowering the next generation of problem-solvers, critical thinkers and high-performing leaders."
Aguirre is a proud UTEP alumnus, having earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University. He currently teaches undergraduate, master’s and doctoral courses in the Department of Computer Science. His research focuses on several topics including deep learning, computer vision, spoken language and reinforcement learning.
Aguirre has also played a leading role in the development of modern computer science courses that have been adopted by more than 15 institutions across the United States.
“Accolades have never been much of a motivation for me,” Aguirre said. “But I am immensely grateful to the Board of Regents for this award because it will allow me to do more of what is most important to me as an educator, which is to create opportunities for talented students from both sides of the border who, if it weren’t for UTEP, would not have access to the kind of high-impact education they can obtain here.”
Since its inception, 76 UTEP faculty members have received the ROTA. Students, peer faculty and external reviewers conduct a rigorous evaluation based on several criteria, including a candidate's teaching performance, classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes. Winners receive a $25,000 prize.
“We are extremely proud of Dr. Raheem and Dr. Aguirre,” said John Wiebe, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs at UTEP. “University faculty members are in a unique position to engage and inspire students, and the exceptional efforts of these two professors from the College of Engineering have had a transformative and defining impact on their students.”
Last Updated on November 01, 2022 at 12:00 AM | Originally published November 01, 2022
By MC Staff UTEP Marketing and Communications