500X330_FacultyExcellence_IntroExcellence in teaching is at the heart of our mission at the University of St. Thomas.

Each year, the University of St. Thomas honors outstanding faculty who exemplify extraordinary dedication and excellence in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service with the Saint Thomas Aquinas Excellence in Teaching Award, the Saint Edith Stein Excellence in Research Award, the Joseph M. McFadden Excellence in Service Award, and the Teach Online Awards to Spur Transformation (TOAST).

We proudly recognize and celebrate our faculty’s achievements!

Award Descriptions

The Saint Thomas Aquinas Excellence in Teaching Award was established to recognize a faculty member who exemplifies UST’s commitment to teaching excellence. Its recipient represents the highest standards of dedication to teaching and learning. 

The Saint Edith Stein Excellence in Research Award honors a faculty member for outstanding scholarship. We are proud of our faculty authors who are advancing their fields through research and writing.

The Joseph M. McFadden Excellence in Service Award is named after the sixth present of the University of St. Thomas (1988-1997) and professor emeritus of History. The award recognizes outstanding faculty service to the University community and abroad.

Piper Professor Award of the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation honors outstanding professors from colleges and universities, public and private, across the state of Texas. Each year, ten "Piper Professor" award winners receive a certificate of merit, a gold pin and a $5k honorarium in recognition of their superior teaching at the collegiate level. Nominations are made through the Deans' offices, and the announcement of the winners are made in May. More information is available on the Texas Comptroller website.

This year, UST proudly presents our nominee: Dr. Maia Larios-Sanz, Ph.D. 

The TOAST Award (Teach Online Awards to Spur Transformation) was created in 2021 to recognize the excellence and leadership of outstanding faculty in online education. Recipients of the annual TOAST Awards, selected by the Teach Online team, are recognized in an online toast ceremony of at the end of each academic year.

2023 Toast Award Recipients


The Faculty Awards Committee of the Faculty Senate wishes to congratulate our Nominees and to thank everyone who put forward a nomination.

Dominic Aquila

Richa Chandra

Kristina Leyden

Gabriel Villares

Francesca Guerri

Birgit Mellis

Tera Torres

Gabriel Villares

Victoria Wagner

*multiple nominations received

Albert Ribes-Zamora*

Amanda Taylor

Andres Garcia

Andrew Hayes*

Andy Garcia

Anne Gichuri-Echessa*

Ashley Daniel

Beth Barrette

Brady Knapp

Brian Carl

Constantina Michalos

Crystal Tran*

Dan Hu

Daniel Garcia*

David Deavel

David Squires*

Elham Mousavidin

Elizabeth Kimes

Ellis Larry Nordyke*

Eric Mabry

Eric Botts

Fr. Dempsey Rosales Acosta

Fr. Donald Nesti

Homer Quintana

Ismael Al-Ramihi

Ivan Irizarry*

J. Ulyses Balderas, PhD

James Matthew Wilson

Jasmine Hatem

Jerry Wallace

Jessica Granger*

Jo Anne Meier-Marquis*

Joan Allouache

John Hittinger*

John Leavins*

Kim Arrington

Kristina Leyden

Lauren Delumpa

Lucindra Campbell-Law

Maia Larios-Sanz

Mark Amelang

Mark Schumann

Mary Flagg*

Mary Anne Vincent*

Mathew Zelisko*

Mayra Paredes

Michael Boler

Michelle Steiger

Nancy Castellon

Nicole Walters

Olbelina Ulloa

Rajesh Ramakrishnan

Randall Smith

Rebecca Dowden

Richard Sindelar*

Robert Ellison

Samuel Condic

Sarah Agarwal

Sr. Albert-Marie Surmanski, OP

Sr. Theresa Chau Nguyen, OP*

Steven Meyer*

Sujin Horwitz*

Sunny Shuoyang Zhang*

Theodore Rebard*

Tera Torres*

Thomas Behr

Thomas Osborne

Vanessa Arline*

Vinita Ramaswamy*

Viviana Chautagnat Hernandez

Dr. Maia Larios-Sanz

Passionate educator Dr. Maia Larios-Sanz received the Saint Thomas Aquinas Excellence in Teaching Award this year for exemplifying the highest dedication to teaching and learning. The Associate Professor and Chair of the Biology Department inspires her students to succeed in their university studies and beyond.

Her student nominator described her as “a strong, Latina figure who is in STEM and has become much more than a professor-mentor. She has become a role model who motivates me to constantly do my best in my studies and future career. She teaches with so much enthusiasm and love for the field of biology, and her energy is so infectious that it made me excited to learn.”

Larios-Sanz aims to empower students “to make connections between the subject matter and daily life, and to be conscious of the power of science — and themselves — to improve their own communities.”

Dr. Yao-Yuan Yeh

For his consistent and impressive record of scholarship, Dr. Yao-Yuan Yeh received the 2022 Saint Edith Stein Excellence in Research Award. The Associate Professor for International Studies and Modern Languages and Chair of International Studies has written two scholarly book publications, multiple book chapters, 23 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and more than 40 policy papers on topics related to U.S.-China-Taiwan relations, in addition to over 300 op-ed publications for a general audience.

He writes on various issues, including democratic governance, U.S.-China relations, U.S.-Taiwan relations and terrorism. His work enjoys an international audience as it involves issues of utmost relevance to the times in which we live.

Yeh’s nominator wrote that Dr. Yeh “is one of the most productive scholars at UST, by quantity, quality and reach.”

Dr. Sujin Horwitz

With outstanding faculty service to the UST community and abroad, Dr. Sujin Horwitz, Professor of Management and Marketing, embodies the spirit of selfless leadership. Over the past 15 years at UST, she has made many contributions of service to her students, the Cameron School of Business (CSB) and the University. Since 2009, Horwitz has brought her devotion and passion for student success to her work as a First-Year Experience advisor. Also, she has served as Freshman Symposium faculty since 2012.

Dr. Horwitz presently serves on multiple committees and has served several terms as a Faculty Senator. She is the current Chair of the CSB Faculty Development Committee. Furthermore, the professor serves on the editorial board of multiple scholarly journals. She is a regular moderator and reviewer for numerous conferences and conference proceedings

*Eligibility Requirements: Any full-time faculty member of the University of St. Thomas who has been at UST for at least three years and has not received the specific award in the past three years is eligible to be considered for that award. The selection process begins with nominations solicited in early Spring, followed by the submission of Nominee Portfolios. The Faculty Awards Committee reviews these portfolios and selects a candidate for each award, whose candidacy is submitted for approval by the Vice President of Academic Affairs. The awards are presented on the Opening Day of the academic year, and the recipient receives a commemorative plague and a $500 stipend.

Past Award Recipients
Faculty Spotlights

Showcasing our faculty excellence with stories from UST Communications (2019 – 2021)

Learn more about University of St. Thomas faculty scholarship and publication achievements.