Shirley, Medina named 2022 University Teaching Excellence Award winners

Both the UNC Charlotte Award for Teaching Excellence and the Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence are prestigious traditions at Charlotte. Each fall, faculty are nominated, finalists chosen and one recipient for each award is recognized.

This year’s recipients are Terry Shirley Jr. for the UNC Charlotte award and Adriana Medina for the Bank of America award.

Shirley is associate chair and senior lecturer in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences. He is passionate about teaching and mentoring, the field of meteorology, advocating for students and supporting his colleagues. It seems every one of the 400-plus students he teaches each semester has been positively impacted by his classes and the care he extends toward each individual.

“Teaching at UNC Charlotte is truly a privilege — allowing me to mentor students, share my passion about weather and the environment and work with my colleagues to support students in their journeys,” said Shirley.

“Terry Shirley’s dedication and passion for teaching is infectious, making all around him excited to learn,” said Deborah Thomas, interim associate vice chancellor for research. “His dedication to UNC Charlotte students is inspiring and his contributions to the teaching mission of the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences and the broader University are extensive. These efforts in combination with the stellar reputation he has among students and his contributions beyond the classroom truly illustrate why he is so deserving of this award.”

Medina is an associate professor of reading and elementary education in the Cato College of Education. She is a global educator — using study abroad opportunities to expand her students’ perspectives of education beyond the United States, while enhancing their understanding of different cultures, languages and educational systems as they work with professionals and children in other countries. She developed study abroad programs in Brazil and Germany and has been integral in sustaining and creating academic partnerships with international institutions.

“To be a good global educator, I challenge myself to gain knowledge, form dispositions and build capacity within myself to understand, participate in and act on issues of local and global significance, as well as educate myself about cultures and regions of our world,” said Medina.

“Dr. Medina’s teaching philosophy is guided by the importance of experiential learning, where students are actively engaged and participating in experiences that enhance their growth,” said S. Michael Putnam, chair of the Department of Reading and Elementary Education. “She is focused on providing relevant experiences that are directly informed by and connected to the community and world.”

Shirley and Medina were honored during a ceremony Dec. 5 at the UNC Charlotte Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, along with award finalists Moutaz Khouja, professor, operations management; Linda Shanock, professor, psychological science and organizational science; Carol Higham, senior lecturer, history; and Cheryl Kane, senior lecturer, management.

Photo: Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber, from left, with Provost Joan F. Lorden, award recipients Terry Shirley and Adriana Medina and Bank of America representative Steffany Hajek.