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Board of Regents Recognizes Paola Passalacqua With Outstanding Teaching Award

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Paola Passalacqua, assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering, has been selected to receive a 2017 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, the highest teaching honor bestowed by the University of Texas System Board of Regents.

In total, 7 faculty members from The University of Texas at Austin will receive the award, which is one of the nation’s largest monetary teaching recognition programs in higher education. Each honoree receives $25,000.

Established in 2008, the awards are offered annually in recognition of faculty members of the University of Texas System academic institutions who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction. Candidate selection is based on a series of rigorous evaluations by students, peer faculty members and external reviewers. The review panels consider a range of activities and other criteria in their evaluations including outstanding teaching, mentoring, personal commitment to students and motivating students in the classroom.

“Mentoring is one of the activities I enjoy most,” Passalacqua said. “Mentors played an important role for me, particularly as a first-generation college student. I also believe in sharing my passion for the field in which I work with my students. I commonly bring elements of my research into lectures and find that the students appreciate seeing how their growing knowledge is an integral part of research and real-world application. It keeps them engaged when they see how what they learn in class impacts the community at large.”

Passalacqua’s research interests are at the intersection of water resources engineering, hydrologic sciences, and geomorphology. They include network and deltaic systems, lidar and satellite imagery analysis, multi-scale analysis of hydrological processes, and quantitative analysis and modeling of landscape forming processes.

In the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, she teaches undergraduate courses in hydraulics and hydrology, and a graduate course in stochastic hydrology.

Passalacqua has been honored with the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and several teaching awards including the Cockrell School of Engineering Dean's Award for Outstanding Teaching by an Assistant Professor, and the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors Award for Outstanding Teaching in Environmental Engineering and Science.