Molecular Biosciences Professor Honored for Outstanding Teaching

October 8, 2021 • by Amanda Figueroa-Nieves
A portrait of Janice Fischer

Janice Fischer, professor of molecular biosciences and director of the Biology Instructional Office at The University of Texas at Austin, has won a UT System Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award.

The honor is given to a select group—this year to no more than 15 faculty members throughout the UT System's 14 academic and health institutions—"to honor extraordinary classroom performance and innovation." Fischer was selected after an academic year in which she led the creation and distribution of resources to support more effective, engaging tactics in remote learning environments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The award is given to faculty whose teaching, classroom expertise, curricula and track record in course development, as well as student learning outcomes, is considered outstanding.

Fischer previously won the President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award for the academic year 2019-2020.

"What I've learned is I want to create an environment where students are rewarded for thinking," Fischer told UT News when she was previously honored. "I want them to understand things so that they can solve problems because that's going to be their experience in real life. For example, they take assessments at home and use whatever they want to solve the problem, know, why memorize anything? In real life, you've got a cell phone! The old way just doesn't make sense anymore."

Fischer is co-author of the textbook Genetics: From Genes to Genomes and a member of the College of Natural Sciences' chairs council.

The Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award will provide Fischer with a monetary prize of $25,000, as well as a medallion and certificate. The awards will be celebrated at a livestreamed Board of Regents meeting in November.


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