Jennifer Morgan, senior program coordinator in the School of Undergraduate Studies, has been awarded the 2014 Cale McDowell Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Studies. Morgan’s extensive efforts to implement state-mandated changes to the core curriculum across the university made her an outstanding candidate for the award. She coordinated meetings, organized support materials and worked one-on-one with faculty and staff members across campus. Morgan has also managed the review and approval process of supporting documents for over 500 courses. Larry Abraham, Associate Dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies, presented Morgan with the award in a ceremony on May 22.
“Jennifer Morgan is a talented and dedicated member of the Undergraduate Studies team who plays a major role in our efforts to provide a rich and dynamic core curriculum for all undergraduates at UT,” said Abraham. “With her years of experience in the Office of the General Faculty, she knows how to work with faculty and administrators from across campus to make effective changes in educational policies and practices.”
As UGS degree audit manager, Morgan writes and tests the degree audit code and handles the UGS core petition process, dealing with student questions and concerns, logging more than 1,000 petitions each year. Before joining the School of Undergraduate Studies in 2011, Morgan provided administrative support for the faculty governance bodies on campus in the Office of the General Faculty. Morgan received her M.S.S.W. from UT in 2002.
Award History & Selection Process
The endowed Cale McDowell Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Studies was established in February of 2010, with gifts from donors, including Inaugural Dean of Undergraduate Studies Paul Woodruff, President William Powers, Jr., and other distinguished members of the university community. The award honors Cale McDowell, a member of the Task Force on Curricular Reform and former deputy to the dean responsible for updating and implementing changes to the UT undergraduate curriculum.
The purpose of the McDowell Award is to encourage research or innovation that improves the university’s core curriculum. The award may be given to a deserving staff member or administrator in the School of Undergraduate Studies, or to any student, faculty, or staff member who improves the undergraduate experience at the university. The recipient of the award receives a $1,000 honorarium.
2013: Jeanette Herman, Assistant Dean for Academic Initiatives, for core curriculum innovation.
2012: Professors Barbara Brown Wilson and Matthew Fajkus, for their work creating an innovative Signature Course.
2011: Shelby Stanfield, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Registrar, for his work as a key participant in UT Austin’s ongoing effort to reform its undergraduate core curriculum and focus new resources on undergraduate education.
Each year, a committee comprised of faculty, students, and staff chooses the McDowell Award recipient from candidates nominated by the campus community. This year’s committee was
- Coleman Hutchison, Undergraduate Studies Advisory Committee
- Bjorn Billhardt, UGS Advisory Council
- Elizabeth Richmond Garza, Ph.D., Academy of Distinguished Teachers
- Andrew Clark, President, Senate of College Councils
- Claudia Morency, Undergraduate Studies Council
- Kathy Uitvlugt, Program Coordinator, University Honors Center
About Cale McDowell
McDowell (B.B.A. ’05, M.P.A. ’06, J.D. ’09) was one of the founders of the School of Undergraduate Studies and former deputy to the dean. During his time at the university, McDowell served as vice chairman (‘04-‘05) and chairman (‘05-‘06) of the Senate of College Councils and was appointed by President Larry Faulkner in 2004 to the Task Force on Curricular Reform. McDowell is co-author of the report of the Task Force and the Faculty Council motion adopting many of its recommendations.
During the early months of Bill Powers’s tenure as president of the university, McDowell served as aide to the president. In that role, he worked with college deans and the Faculty Council toward on efforts to retool the university’s new core curriculum. Upon Paul Woodruff’s September 2006 appointment as inaugural dean of Undergraduate Studies, McDowell joined the dean’s senior staff. His work with faculty committees, the university’s colleges and schools, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board led to the implementation of the new core curriculum for all undergraduate students and the creation of the School of Undergraduate Studies. He now serves on this school’s advisory council.