President and provost awards go to Aquilino, Holstein, Mote, and Schmidt
Friday, May 16, 2014

Four University of Iowa faculty members have won the 2014 President and Provost Award for Teaching Excellence in recognition of their years of outstanding teaching.

This year's recipients are Mary Aquilino, clinical associate professor of community and behavioral health in the College of Public Health; Jay Holstein, professor of religious studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Gale Mote, adjunct lecturer in management and organizations in the Tippie College of Business; and Thomas J. Schmidt, professor of molecular physiology and biophysics in the Carver College of Medicine.

The award, which is administered by the UI Council on Teaching, was created in 2004 as a university-wide recognition for faculty members who have demonstrated a sustained, high level of teaching excellence.

Portrait of Mary Aquilino
Mary Aquilino

Aquilino has directed the Master of Public Health (MPH) program since 2004. In 2010 she was named associate dean for MPH and undergraduate programs. She has been an innovator in curriculum and program design for the Colleges of Public Health and Nursing, and in 2012 was runner-up for the national Delta Omega Innovative Curriculum Award.

Believing that opportunities to engage with individuals and communities help turn interests into passions, she has long incorporated service learning techniques into her classes. Projects have included work with agencies such as the Shelter House in Iowa City, Johnson County Empowerment, and United Action for Youth.

She mentors and advises a large number of MPH and other students and oversees the college’s community-based practicum program. In 2013 she received the College of Public Health Faculty Teaching Award.

Portrait of Jay Holstein
Jay Holstein

Holstein, who holds the J.J. Mallon Teaching Chair in Judaic Studies, has taught more than 60,000 undergraduate students since joining the UI faculty in 1970. His courses on the Hebrew Bible, the Jewish tradition, and the Holocaust have offered thousands of undergraduates an exceptional opportunity to learn about Judaism and the Jewish people.

Year after year, student surveys single him out as one of the most influential teachers students have ever had, while a steady stream of unsolicited communications from past students testify to the impact his teaching has had on their lifelong learning.

He has received the Collegiate Teaching Award and the UI Honors Program Teaching Award, and was named Teacher of the Year by the UI Interfraternity and Panehellenic Councils. His teaching was featured in the award-winning documentary film Professor.

Portrait of Gale Mote
Gale Mote

Mote has taught more than 50 sections of courses for the Tippie College of Business, primarily to students in the evening MBA program for Professionals and Managers in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, and the Quad Cities. She has become a cornerstone of that program, and her influence has been felt broadly across the state.

As a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance with 24 years of experience as a consultant, Mote brings real-life examples to the classroom and fills her courses with opportunities for experiential learning. Her focus is on creating working environments where everyone is engaged and contributing.

Students appreciate her “contagious enthusiasm” along with her business acumen, and frequently comment that their ability to apply in their working environment what they learn in her classroom is immediate.

Portrait of Thomas Schmidt
Thomas J. Schmidt

Schmidt directs and played an important role in the development and success of the Human Organ Systems course required of all first-year medical students. He has been very involved in curriculum design as well as student assessment and engagement, and will co-direct the new course Mechanisms of Health and Disease 3.

He served his department for 20 years as director of graduate studies, and has served the college as assistant dean in the Office of Student Affairs and Curriculum and as member and then chair of the Medical Education Committee. He currently serves on a USMLE Step 1 Test Material Development Committee for the National Board of Medical Examiners.

He has received many honors for his teaching, including the UI Marion L. Huit Award, and from 2006-2009 he held the Dr. Harold A. Myers Distinguished Professorship in Medical Education. He served on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Medical Science Educators and in 2010 received their Master Teacher Award.