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Press Release

CHAPEL HILL, NC – The University of North Carolina Board of Governors has selected 17 outstanding faculty members to receive the 2021 Awards for Excellence in Teaching.

The recipients, who represent all 16 of North Carolina’s public universities and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, were nominated by special committees at each institution and selected by the Board of Governors Committee on Educational Planning, Policies, and Programs.

Established by the Board in 1993 to highlight the importance of teaching, the awards recognize the extraordinary contributions of faculty members across the UNC System.

“I’m proud today to recognize the diligent work of our faculty members,” said Randy Ramsey, chairman of the UNC Board of Governors. “These professors are a shining example of the world-class education and public service that is provided across our System every day. I offer sincerest gratitude and congratulations to our award winners.”

Each of the winners will receive a commemorative bronze medallion and a $12,500 cash prize. The award winners will be honored at their institutions at a future date.

“These award recipients are among the finest faculty our state has to offer,” said UNC System President Peter Hans. “They provide another reminder of the high-quality education that our students receive each day across the UNC System.”

The 2021 recipients are:

  • Caroline J. Smith, Appalachian State University
  • Ricky T. Castles, East Carolina University
  • Debjani Kanjilal, Elizabeth City State University
  • Chandrika Johnson, Fayetteville State University
  • Comfort O. Okpala, North Carolina A&T State University
  • Lenora Helm Hammonds, North Carolina Central University
  • Hasan Jameel, North Carolina State University
  • Irene Rossell, University of North Carolina at Asheville
  • Sharon L. James, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Heather Coffey, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Rebecca B. MacLeod, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Laura Annelle Staal, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
  • Eman M. Ghoneim, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
  • Lauren Vilchik, University of North Carolina School of the Arts
  • Catherine W. Carter, Western Carolina University
  • Lynn Roche Zubov, Winston-Salem State University
  • Martha Regalis, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

Read more about the winners and their teaching philosophies.