associate dean for research

Jo Worthy, language and literacy studies professor and Tasha Beretvas, associate dean for research and graduate studies, received the College of Education’s Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award. 

Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Jo Worthy, language and literacy studies professor, and Tasha Beretvas, associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Education, both received the College of Education Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the college’s most prominent award, last week. 

Worthy, a former elementary and middle school teacher, specializes in children’s reading interests and bilingual education. She also focuses on the alternatives to ability grouping, which she said is the method of categorizing and sectioning young students based on expectancy of success in academics.

“Putting kids into these ability groups can be really harmful,” Worthy said. “If we’re not teaching them as a whole, then they don’t get the equal treatment that encourages success.”

Worthy said group categorizing students discourages them to break apart from the labels they are given. The most well-known categorization is to break up students into gifted and talented in middle school and regular or distinguished in high school.

According to Worthy, her method of teaching involves getting to know students on a personal level.

“It is important to me to know what the students need and especially what they’re interested in learning,” Worthy said.

Beth Maloch, associate dean of teacher education and chair of the award’s committee, said Worthy has designed and taught a signature undergraduate studies course, which has received exceptional course evaluations.

Beretvas teaches statistics and psychometrics in the Department of Educational Psychology. Her course, “Introduction to Statistics,” helps students understand how to apply statistics to their own respective fields.

“There are a lot of people coming in who are fearful of math,” Beretvas said. “When they’re shown in a way that they can grasp it, they can easily use [statistics] with their own interests.”

According to Maloch, the committee bases its decisions off student and faculty-peer evaluations for both graduate and undergraduate teaching.

“Research is important at a top-tier institution like UT,” Beretvas said. “But we also value teaching and seeing these awards really does substantiate that.”

Both Worthy and Beretvas have previously received honors, including the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.

“They’ve invested all across the college throughout the years,” Maloch said. “It’s a long way to say that it was not surprising that they were nominated.”

Daniel Slesnick, associate dean for research, facilities and information technology in the College of Liberal Arts, was appointed the University’s new vice provost of resource management Wednesday.

Current Executive Vice Provost Stephen Monti, who has worked at the University for 43 years, announced his retirement last week. He will work closely with Slesnick to ensure a smooth transition.

Monti said Slesnick’s appointment was an excellent choice made by the institution, and they have already started working together. Slesnick will work half the time in the provost’s office while still teaching through May. During the summer, he will work full time in the provost position.

“He has a desk set up right next to mine in my office,” Monti said. “We will work together on things and he will come to all the meetings that his schedule allows to immerse him in the process.”

In his new position, Slesnick will deal with budget issues as well as facility and space development.

“[Slesnick] is a good administrator,” Monti said. “He has worked with facilities and budgets and has good common sense.”

Slesnick received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics at the University of Washington and his doctorate in economics at Harvard University.

In 1982, Slesnick started at the University as an assistant economics professor and became an associate professor in 1986. Slesnick has been a senior tenured professor since 1993.

In 2007, Slesnick became associate dean for research, facilities and information technology in the College of Liberal Arts.