Exum, Beete named 2023 Teaching Excellence Award winners

M. Lyn Exum and Deborah Beete are the 2023 recipients of the Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence and UNC Charlotte Award for Teaching Excellence, respectively.

Jennifer Troyer, interim provost, said, “M. Lyn Exum and Deborah Beete are true examples of what makes UNC Charlotte a great place for our students. Their classrooms are places of inclusion where free expression of ideas is encouraged and welcomed, and they find new and inspiring methods to spark their students’ desire to learn and to grow.”

Exum, an associate professor and associate chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, is known for his contagious enthusiasm. He is a one-of-a-kind educator who shapes students into their best critical-thinking selves.

“I believe that teaching is not limited to a 16-week semester or a nine-month contract,” said Exum. “It is a lifelong commitment to mentorship. When I work with students, I want my words to encourage them along their journey, redirect them when they are not giving their best effort and challenge them to explore new paths that they may not have considered before.”

Michael Turner, chair of criminology and criminal justice, stated, “Over the course of his teaching career, Exum has exemplified genuine dedication to working with undergraduate and graduate students. This dedication has resulted in innovative strategies employed within the classroom, impactful curricular changes and positive teaching evaluations. Exum is truly dedicated to his commitment to challenging and educating students.”

Beete is a senior lecturer in the Department of Public Health Sciences and director of the MPH program. A former practitioner in public health, Beete uses her past knowledge and experiences to foster and encourage the next generations of academics and practitioners in her field by meeting students where they are and pushing them to exceed their own expectations.

“The aim of every course I teach is to nourish my students’ personal, academic and professional growth,” said Beete. “I approach my teaching with the assumption that all students have the capacity to be successful, and my greatest joy is when a student has more curiosity and questions at the end of a course than they had at the beginning.”

Department chair Jan Warren-Findlow stated, “Beete is a superlative teacher and a strong advocate for students and their success. Her thoughtful approach to her instructional delivery, advising and advocacy are pillars that provide the foundation our students need to learn and thrive. She truly embodies the University’s mission, and her investment in our students and their success is unparalleled.”

Exum and Beete were honored during a ceremony Friday, Sept. 22, in the Popp Martin Student Union, along with teaching excellence award finalists Paula Connolly, professor, English; Amy Good, associate professor, reading and elementary education; Jeanne-Marie “Ree” Linker, lecturer, mathematics and statistics; and Hannah Peach, assistant teaching professor, psychological science.

In addition to the award winners and finalists, the following faculty members were recognized as honorable mention finalists: Cheryl Brown, political science and public administration; David Thaddeus, architecture; Greg Wiggan, middle, secondary and K-12 education; Sayde Brais, communication studies; Oscar Lansen, history; and Mary McKenzie, sociology.

The UNC Charlotte Award for Teaching Excellence honors full- or part-time non-tenure track faculty members who have at least five years of teaching service at UNC Charlotte (lecturers and adjunct faculty). Eligibility for the Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence, first presented in 1968, is for full-time, tenured faculty members with at least seven years of service to UNC Charlotte.