A class popular with honors students at Texas A&M developed by Rodney Hill, professor of architecture, helped him net the 2012 Betty M. Unterberger Award for Outstanding Service to Honors Education.
The award, sponsored by the Honors and Undergraduate Research office, was created to honor Unterberger, a regents professor of history who retired in 2004, in recognition of her many years of service and significant contribution to the growth and development of honors education at Texas A&M.
“Hill’s development of The Design Process course, a perennial favorite among honors students, was a significant factor” in earning the award, said Jon Kotinek, associate director for honors.
The course demonstrates, said Kotinek, that honors learning is about increasing complexity while requiring that students connect with what they are learning in more sophisticated ways.
“Anecdotal evidence of this impact is seen in the fact that every single one of the students selected as a Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Junior at Texas A&M this year talked about their Design Process experience in their interviews for the award,” said Kotinek.
In the Design Process class, led by Hill and Jorge Vanegas, dean of the College of Architecture, students create knowledge for individual and group projects. They must document and conduct patent searches on at least two innovative ideas each week. Numerous class projects have placed well in social entrepreneur competitions, and the students routinely generate and post YouTube videos to further illustrate their ideas.
Hill’s many honors include a spot on the list of the Design Futures Council’s 25 Most Admired Educators (2012), the Minnie Stevens Piper Professorship (2011), Texas A&M Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence Award (2010), the Texas Society of Architects Award for Outstanding Educational Contributions in Honor of Edward J. Romieniec (2000), Texas A&M’s Eppright Professorship in Undergraduate Teaching Excellence (2005) and the David Tanner Champion of Creativity Award (2006) from the American Creativity Association.
See related story, "Under the Spell of Rodney Hill," in the Texas A&M Foundation's Fall 2010 Spirit Magazine.