by Mary Helen Yarborough
For the third time in five years, Craig Beeson, Ph.D., was voted
Teacher of the Year by first year Ph.D. students in the College of
Graduate Studies (CGS).
The top teacher designation means that Beeson, an associate professor
of pharmaceutical sciences, was voted as providing meaningful and
functional lectures in an efficient and engaging manner. Beeson was
selected from 10 nominees for the award, which now is in its eighth
The selection was made during a lunch retreat on April 15 in Gazes auditorium.
Beeson attended the retreat with several other nominees and admitted to
being a bit nervous as students critiqued professors and related
academic issues prior to selection announcement.
“Anytime you put yourself out there, you always wonder if you hit the
mark with the students,” Beeson said. “If you don’t, they’ll tell you.
We’re training them to be critical thinkers, and they’re smart. ... I
guess this means that I’m doing the right thing and have made the right
The Teacher of the Year is “no beauty contest,” and many of the
students’ criticisms and recommendations have been used to improve
curricula, lecture structure; reign in unsatisfactory teacher
performance; and even enhance efficiency in communication and
cost-savings, said Perry Halushka, M.D., Ph.D., CGS dean.
“We have made changes based on student and faculty comments,” Halushka
said. “Since we have been doing this, the difference in curricula
between when we started to where we are now is amazing.”
Among areas needing improvement, students want better assurances that
labs will be funded and that teachers be frank about the prospects of
funding before a student commits.
Halushka said he is constantly seeking more funding for Ph.D. and
other programs, through applying for more training grants.
Meanwhile, for his student approval, Beeson got $250, renewed use of a
free on-campus parking space, a plaque acknowledging being the
outstanding teacher of the year and his name on a permanent plaque
outside the college’s offices.
Friday, May 8, 2009