Michael Cox receives Regents’ Teaching Excellence Award

Michael Cox, Professor of Biochemistry, will receive the Regents’ 17th annual Teaching Excellence Award. It is the highest recognition bestowed on members of UW System’s faculty and academic staff for outstanding career achievements in teaching. Award recipients are singled out for their strong commitment to teaching and learning; use of effective teaching strategies to enhance student learning; and for having significant impact on students’ intellectual development.

“The members of the UW community we honor with these awards are shining examples of the ability that excellent teachers have to impact and enrich students’ lives,” said Regent Danae Davis of Milwaukee, who chaired the selection committee.

Cox is well-known for putting students first, from his perpetual “open door” policy to his ongoing commitment to making new resources and opportunities available for students. A colleague noted, “He always treats students with respect, which encourages them to come to him with their questions.”

In describing his own philosophy, Cox said, “If there is one key characteristic for successful teaching, it is simply to care about the students. If students can rely on you for fairness, and know that you will be there when they need you, courses – even courses with 200 students – work out pretty well.”

Cox, who has co-authored a biochemistry textbook that has been translated into 12 languages, is known for integrating teaching and research, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. His students consistently comment on Cox’s ability to make them want to stretch their expectations. Lukas Bane, a UW-Madison senior, said, “He sets reasonable goals and makes me want to work my hardest to reach them. Not just for him, but for a shared love of science and the experience of doing something that hasn’t been done.”

The Regents’ Teaching Excellence Awards will be officially presented at the Board of Regents meeting on Dec. 11 in Madison. Each recipient will receive a $5,000 stipend to be used for professional development.

Also receiving the award this year were Dôna Warren, Associate Professor of Philosophy at UW-Stevens Point, and the Theatre Arts Department at UW-Parkside.