Distinguished teachers and their distinguished careers

Every student has that one college professor they love above all others and the Distinguished Teaching Award is a way to recognize those teachers that make the college experience worthwhile.

After weeks of student voting that’s now come to a close, a volunteer committee has gathered to begin choosing a recipient for the 2022 Distinguished Teaching Award. No matter our college experiences, there is one thing all students have in common and that is that there was always that one teacher that made the whole experience worth it. That’s what the Distinguished Teaching Award is all about. 

Since 1995, the University of Washington has awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award once a year across the Washington campuses to teachers who show mastery of their subject, work scholarships into their teaching, inspire excellence in their students and provide innovations in course and curriculum design. 

Cheryl Greengrove, an Associate Professor of Geoscience in Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, is a founding faculty member of the Environmental Science Program at UW Tacoma as well as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research. As the winner of the Distinguished Teaching Award back in 2006, she was available for a short interview with The Ledger that explained more about the award.

“It’s actually one of the best honors I’ve ever gotten because I enjoy teaching so much,” Greengrove said and added, “That’s where I get my energy. I do lots of things for campus, lots of administrative things, I’ve had many administrative roles over the years. Teaching my students whether it’s in the classroom or out in the field on boats is what I truly like to do.”

Greengrove went on to explain that teachers can be eligible for the once-in-a-lifetime award through nomination from students and peers. Afterwards, a volunteer committee with last year’s winners chairing the committee, along with other volunteers, help to decide the next recipient. 

The committee, she explained, is also re-chosen with new volunteers each year. She also added that winners are chosen from all three campuses which include Seattle, Tacoma and Bothell. While Greengrove won the award in 2006, she said that it was still one of the highest honors she had been given.

“I think it’s really important to recognize the work that people do on this campus,” she said, “Whether it’s faculty, staff, students, whoever, because there’s a lot of people doing really good work and recognizing the contributions that people make, I think is really important. Awards like this, I think, is a bright spot in your year. Or your career! Winning the teaching award to me was super because that’s really what I love doing.”

The committee for the 2022 Distinguished Teaching Award has begun the voting process and a winner will be chosen and announced later this spring.