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Spanish professor first to receive new UT award

On October 10, 2012

UT’s Main Campus is using a new award to recognize star members of the community.

Kathleen Thompson-Casado, assistant Spanish professor, is the first Main Campus honoree of the Shining Star Award, which focuses on “people who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to student-centeredness,” said Ioan Duca, service excellence officer.

Thompson-Casado, a 20- year veteran employee of UT, has traveled to both France and Spain to improve her speaking skills.

During her time there she made a trip to Spain where she met her husband, and came back to the U.S. to teach.

Linda Rouillard, associate professor of French, said she nominated Thompson-Casado for the Shining Star Award because of her dedication to teaching.

“Kathleen is one of those people that doesn’t call attention to herself, and it was time that she got recognized,” said Rouillard, who has known Thompson-Casado for 11 years. “She is dedicated to the department and to the students 100 percent of the time.”

Rouillard first heard about this award through Scott Scarborough, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

“When I first heard about the award the first person I thought of was Kathleen,” said Rouillard said.

Thompson-Casado had no idea that she had won the award until Rouillard surprised her with a video shoot for the Provost Corner, a new UT YoutubeYouTube video series.

“She knows that I am really shy and would not have gone on camera if she had told me,” Thompson-said Casado said., “I was really shocked.”

Eric Garn, graduate student studying Spanish, first met Thompson-Casado in his sophomore year at UT. He said Casado’s classes have been his favorite ones.

“They definitely solidified my desire to continue studying modern Spanish culture,” Garn said. “I’m actually extremely happy that she won this award because she definitely deserves it.”

When asked what her greatest accomplishment as a professor has been, Thompson-Casado said she is proud of the progress her students have made.

“Watching my students grow intellectually and watching them learn is the greatest reward,” she said.

Duca, the Student Experience Steering Body leader, said recipients of the award are chosen based on the “I CARE” values, which include compassion, access, respect and excellence. (what is I?)

The Student Experience Steering Body reviews the nominations and the committee decides on the winners.

Duca said since there are four different values, up to four winners can be selected per a month under each category.

The Shining Star Award was first initiated at the Health Science Campus two years ago, according to Duca.

He said on HSC, the award is given to staff members who were patient-centered, but the Main Campus award focuses on faculty, administrators and staff who are student-centered.

The honor is given once a month and winners receive a trophy, gift card and premier parking for a month.

Duca said details are still being worked out, like where the best parking spot for main campus award winners.

Duca said anyone Aadmissions can be submitted by email, phone or in person to Tony Urbina, Office for the Student Experience director.

Duca added that students, faculty, and community members are welcome to submit nominations. “We want students to nominate their professors or anyone else they think deserves this award,” said Duca. “Anyone can be a shining star.”

Nominations for the

Shining Star Award can be sent to Tony Urbina at

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