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.

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.


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

Dr. Sujin Horwitz

Dr. Sujin Horwitz is a passionate educator whose dedication to the discipline and to her students inspire them to succeed in the classroom and beyond. A student nominator describes her as “an extraordinary professor who is passionate about teaching. Her intelligence is astounding and she always has the most interesting answers to mine and my fellow classmates' questions. She is very kind and an excellent example of what kind of professors UST offers.” 

Dr. Horwitz has achieved excellence as an educator-mentor. She enthusiastically and effectively communicates her broad scope of expertise, teaching a range of courses in Business and Management, Organizational Development, Human Resources, and International Development. In alignment with the mission of the Cameron School of Business, she boldly takes on the tough questions and issues of today’s complex business world, inspiring her students to become strong ethical leaders. Student feedback on course evaluations consistently attest to Dr. Horwitz’s dedication as a professor who fosters collaborative learning, furnishes timely and substantial feedback, and motivates her students to become lifelong, self-directed learners. Congratulations, Dr. Sujin Horwitz! 

Dr. Brigit Mellis

Dr. Brigit Mellis’ extraordinary service to UST is manifested by her active and visionary role as the founding chair of the Department of Physics and Engineering. She has spearheaded the creation of 5 majors in Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Physics, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Physics; and developed a 3:2 Pre-Engineering program with originally 45 brand new courses. Under her leadership, the number of department majors has increased from 12 in 2019 to 110 enrolled majors in 2022. In addition to her regular duties as Chair, Dr. Mellis has focused on building scholarship support with a network of industry collaborations and outreach activities. She has established three endowed scholarships and continues to procure internship and job opportunities for our students and graduates, with companies such as Dow, CenterPoint, Halliburton, and Baker Hughes. She founded the departmental Fall Speaker Series featuring experts in Physics and Engineering, and last year, she established an Engineering Advisory Board with members from the industry and government entities such as NASA to advise on the direction of the department and to serve as UST’s advocates to the broader Engineering Community. This award comes at the culmination of many years of dedicated service. Congratulations, Dr. Birgit Mellis! 

*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 – 2023)