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UTEP Faculty Member Wins Outstanding Teaching Award

Regents’ award recognizes extraordinary classroom performance, innovation

EL PASO, Texas (October 11, 2023) – A faculty member from The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso has received one of the top teaching awards in Texas — The 山ּ of Texas System Board of Regents’ 2023 Outstanding Teaching Award (ROTA).

Professor Cherry Duke of the Department of Music is one of only 14 faculty members from across the state of Texas to receive The 山ּ of Texas System Board of Regents’ 2023 Outstanding Teaching Award. Credit: Lisa Hancock
Professor Cherry Duke of the Department of Music is one of only 14 faculty members from across the state of Texas to receive The 山ּ of Texas System Board of Regents’ 2023 Outstanding Teaching Award. Credit: Lisa Hancock

Professor Cherry Duke of the Department of Music is one of only 14 faculty members from across the state of Texas to receive this year’s award. 

The honorees — faculty from multiple UT academic and health institutions — were selected for demonstrating extraordinary classroom teaching and for their dedication to innovation. Each recipient receives a medallion, a cash award of $25,000 and formal recognition by the Board of Regents at its upcoming meeting on Nov. 20.

“I am thankful Cherry Duke chose to bring her talent and dedication to our 山ּ,” said UTEP President Heather Wilson. “Not only is her portfolio exceptional, but she shares her experience with our students on a daily basis. She is beyond deserving of this honor.”

Duke joined UTEP in 2015 and currently serves as the Director of Opera UTEP.

With more than 60 operatic roles in her repertoire, Duke has performed with the New York City Opera and at major venues across the country, including Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall. She has served on the voice faculty of the Bay View Music Festival, Innovative Music Camps and Clear Creek Music Festival, and has given masterclasses at multiple universities, including the 山ּ of Delaware, Indiana Wesleyan 山ּ, Northeastern 山ּ and the 山ּ of Alabama. 

“I am deeply honored to receive this recognition from the Regents and humbled to be among such fine company as the other award winners,” Duke said. “Every day of the last eight years teaching at UTEP has been a joyful new adventure, helping students reap the benefits of their own personal artistic expression and understand their capacity for empathy, community service and social impact. I am immensely grateful to my colleagues and all of my students — past and present — for inspiring me and helping me to become a better teacher.” 

As part of her mission of service to her students at UTEP, America’s leading Hispanic-serving institution, Duke is reviving the tradition of zarzuela, loosely translated as Spanish operetta. 

Duke has received past awards for her research and teaching at UTEP, including a 2021 Career Enhancement Award, the 2022 Dr. Ann Horak and Charles Horak III Teaching Excellence Endowment Award and the 2022 Outstanding Community Engagement Project Award. Earlier this year, Duke served as the May 2023 Faculty College Marshal for the College of Liberal Arts Commencement Ceremony.

“UT faculty members guide our students’ success and prepare Texas’ future leaders, job creators and innovators,” said UT Board of Regents Chairman Kevin Eltife. “The Board of Regents is proud to recognize their excellence through the Regents Outstanding Teaching Awards program.”

A Texas native, Duke graduated summa cum laude from Texas Woman’s 山ּ. She completed graduate studies at the 山ּ of Hartford, where she received an Artist Diploma in Opera Performance. 

“The UT presidents and I are grateful to the regents for their continued investment in this important program,” said UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken. “The impact that exceptional faculty have on our students’ lives, both professionally and personally, is immeasurable.” 

Since its inception in 2008, 77 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. 

About The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso

The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso is America’s leading Hispanic-serving university. Located at the westernmost tip of Texas, where three states and two countries converge along the Rio Grande, 84% of our 24,000 students are Hispanic, and more than half are the first in their families to go to college. UTEP offers 171 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs at the only open-access, top-tier research university in America.

Last Updated on October 11, 2023 at 12:00 AM | Originally published October 11, 2023

By MC Staff UTEP Marketing and Communications