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Mikki Hebl Is Recipient of Nation’s Largest Teaching Award


by SIOP Administrative Office

Baylor University has awarded SIOP member Michelle (Mikki) Hebl of Rice University the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, an honor that carries a $250,000 prize.

The Cherry Award is designed to honor great teachers, stimulate discussion in the academy about the value of teaching, and encourage departments and institutions to recognize their own great teachers. It is the only national teaching award—with the largest single monetary award—presented by a college or university to an individual for exceptional teaching.

“Dr. Hebl has a remarkable record of recognized teaching and scholarship awards. The Cherry committee was particularly impressed with her passion and enthusiasm for teaching and her ability to engage with both students and faculty across a variety of disciplines,” said Michael W. Thompson, committee chair and associate dean for undergraduate programs at Baylor, in university news release.

That Hebl was recognized as an outstanding teacher is no surprise to SIOP members who know her. She received SIOP’s Distinguished Teaching Contributions Award in 2008.

During her career, she has received more than a dozen awards for teaching as well as her work on issues of gender and diversity.

In addition to her $250,000 award, an additional $25,000 will be given to the department of psychology at Rice University. She will also teach in residence at Baylor during the spring 2017 semester.

One of three finalists, Hebl said she was “thrilled and humbled” by the honor. “I just feel lucky to be recognized for something—teaching and mentoring—that I feel so blessed to do as a career.”

As part of the selection process, she presented a lecture at Baylor in which she demonstrated how even the most high-intentioned and educated people hold biases, possess skewed beliefs about themselves, and express discrimination toward others.

She received her doctorate from Dartmouth University and since 1998 has been teaching at Rice where she is the Martha and Henry Malcolm Lovett Professor of Psychology.