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COLA Professor Receives Award for Transformative Teaching and Leadership

Established in 2011 and named after one of the founders of the Undergraduate College, the Cale McDowell Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Studies honors the extraordinary efforts of The University of Texas at Austin faculty, staff, and students to improve UT’s core curriculum via programming, research, policy change, or delivery of academic services. This year, the recipient is Dr. Edmund T. Gordon, a professor of African and African Diaspora Studies (AADS) and the executive director of the Contextualization and Commemoration Initiative, who is recognized for his extraordinary contributions to education and his lasting impact on the undergraduate student experience.

“Dr. Gordon embodies the excellence and dedication that the Cale McDowell Award celebrates,” wrote Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies Marcelo Paixão in his nomination. “His transformative teaching, tireless leadership, and commitment to student-centered learning have made an indelible mark on our University.”

Dr. Gordon holds a doctorate in social anthropology and a master’s in anthropology from Stanford University, a master’s in marine sciences from the University of Miami, and a bachelor’s in sociology and anthropology from Swarthmore College. He reaches over 1,000 students annually via the courses he co-teaches and his innovative methods, including the use of digital humanities tools, have gained him widespread acclaim. AFR 320C: Power and Place in the Making of Texas History and AFR 303: Introduction to Black Studies, as well as Dr. Gordon’s groundbreaking Racial Geography Tour of campus, have helped Longhorns bridge the gap between history and current events through critical analysis.

“This award is a testament to the power of the collective work that can be engaged in by scholars, creatives, and skilled technicians to forge innovative and effective digital forms of student engagement,” says Dr. Gordon. “I’m profoundly grateful for the opportunity to work with my AADS teaching collaborators and my colleagues in Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services (LAITS) in our efforts to energize our students’ bright and inquisitive minds.”