The passion that drives James Monaghan is tissue regeneration; for Denise Garcia, it’s international diplomacy. While their disciplines couldn’t be more different, what earned them the 2018 University Excellence in Teaching Award is what they have in common—a passion for students on both the academic and human level.
“I take it very seriously,” said Garcia. “I imagine that each class is a time I will have with the student that I will never come again.”
While conducting their own world-class research, both Monaghan and Garcia take the time needed to know their students as people and guide them into the future as scholars. That may seem like an obvious part of the job, but it takes a special teacher to make it real.
Why is there always a line of eager students whenever Garcia has office hours? Why do Monahan’s students—even as undergraduates—publish as first authors in scholarly scientific journals? Why, in both cases, do their courses routinely fill up within an hour of being posted?
There’s no simple answer, but a few examples begin to tell the story.