Kara Dawson, professor of educational technology, has been appointed to the UF Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars.
“I came to UF in 1999 because I wanted a chance to be part of building a program,” said Dawson. “It is clear now in 2022 that we have grown in many positive ways and I have had the opportunity to collaborate with so many amazing colleagues to help this happen.”
Selection for this academy recognizes Dawson’s “integration of superior teaching and research and a record of distinguished scholarly accomplishment.” Throughout her career, Dawson’s contributions to the UF community have been recognized by the university. She previously received UF’s Doctoral Dissertation Advisor/Mentoring Award and the College of Education’s Irving and Rose Fien Professorship for 2015-2018. From 2013 to 2016, she served as a UFRF Professor, a title bestowed by the University of Florida Research Foundation. Despite these previous accolades, Dawson said she applied for the Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars because of her colleagues’ encouragement.
“I would have never thought to apply if some colleagues didn’t encourage me so I appreciate that people who know my work thought I might have a shot at this award,” she said. “It is special because, despite the title, the award is not just about teaching. It is about having a balance of teaching, program development, mentoring, research and service that has positively influenced the university over many years.”
Her recent appointment to the Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars will allow Dawson to help shape the future of teaching at UF. The academy advises the Associate Provost on issues related to the “implementation of policies that enhance the University of Florida’s ability to continuously improve its high level of academic excellence.” Dawson is eager to bring her classroom and scholarly expertise to the academy.
“My dear colleague, Nancy Dana, won this award in 2021, and I look forward to participating in the Academy with her in ways that cultivate a culture of valuing a scholarly approach to educating students,” Dawson shared. “I also look forward to meeting the other Academy members and learning from them.”
Elaborating, Dawson said, “I think my stance toward developing academic programs based on data, collaboration with colleagues and feedback from students will be most valuable.” She also hopes her openness to new ideas and affinity for innovative, research-based uses of technology “will lead to improvements in our program and programs across the university.”
“Dr. Dawson has proven her excellence time and again with an unwavering focus on student success, both in our programs and in the field,” said Dean Glenn Good. “This appointment is further evidence of her commitment to teaching and learning, and of the caliber of faculty at the college.”
Dawson will retain the title of Distinguished Teaching Scholar and continue to be a part of the academy following her three-year term on the advisory board.