UNLV architecture professor Alfredo Fernandez-Gonzalez was named the 2012 Nevada Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). The award was presented during a luncheon Nov. 15 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
The awards recognize professors for their influence in the classroom and their commitment to undergraduate students. Fernandez-Gonzalez was selected from a pool of nearly 300 top professors nationwide and a broad range of academic disciplines and institutional types.
"Great faculty dedicated to the success of our students are the backbone of UNLV and our tradition of educational excellence," said UNLV President Neal Smatresk. "Professor Fernandez-Gonzalez has been an outstanding mentor and coach for students by engaging them in relevant research that is contextually linked to their major interest. UNLV is proud of his accomplishments and of our architecture program."
Fernandez-Gonzalez is an associate professor of architecture and the director of the Natural Energies Advanced Technologies Laboratory. His research areas include energy efficiency and green design; passive and low-energy heating and cooling systems; and water harvesting, treatment and reuse systems.
Since joining UNLV in 2004, Fernandez-Gonzalez's teaching has been recognized with the UNLV Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award, the UNLV Alumni Association Outstanding Faculty Award, and the Alex G. and Faye Spanos Distinguished Teacher Award. He has also been recognized by the American Institute of Architects-Las Vegas Chapter and Nevada U.S. Green Building Council.
Judges selected national and state winners based on four criteria:
- Impact on and involvement with undergraduate students
- Scholarly approach to teaching and learning
- Contributions to undergraduate education in the institution, community and profession
- Support from colleagues and current and former students
The U.S. Professors of the Year Program began in 1981 and is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.
"The winners have drawn on the best of what we know from cognitive science, learning theory and evidence-based practices in post-secondary instruction to orchestrate extraordinary opportunities for the students in their classrooms," said Anthony S. Bryk, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, in a statement. "In honoring these distinguished professors who have exhibited excellence in teaching in their disciplines and extraordinary dedication to their students, we are supporting the centrality of teaching on campus and recognizing its importance to the future of our country."
This year, a state Professor of the Year was recognized in 30 states and the District of Columbia. CASE assembled two preliminary panels of judges to select finalists. The Carnegie Foundation then convened the third and final panel, which selected four national winners. CASE and Carnegie select state winners from top entries resulting from the judging process.