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Cheney Receives 2023 Academic Support Award

As director of undergraduate laboratories in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Christine Cheney is responsible for organizing more than 100 graduate teaching assistants, including arranging teaching schedules, assigning classes, and preparing them for teaching, which includes training before and during the semester.

Christine, who received her PhD in physics from Vanderbilt University in 2001, plays a central role in supporting teaching in the department, especially concerning the laboratories. The “Big Freeze of 2022” resulted in severe flooding of multiple laboratories, and Christine and her husband spent the night cleaning and rescuing equipment during the Christmas holidays. This selfless action enabled the department to greatly mitigate damage and begin the spring 2023 semester and teaching on time and with minimal disruption to students.

One of the cornerstones of the UT undergraduate physics education is the Modern Physics Lab and Christine plays an important role ensuring all experiments in the Modern Physics Lab – and all undergraduate physics labs – follow the university’s safety protocols.

In addition, she helps all lab instructors design experiments for in-class demonstration, which are crucial to learning and being able to apply material learned in lectures. Without her willingness to help, student learning and outcomes would suffer.

Source: Nominators comments

The academic support award is awarded to a staff member who has exhibited extraordinary academic support during the past academic year. Areas of support may include curriculum, advising, scheduling, faculty assistance, etc.