The L. R. Hesler Award was established by students, colleagues, and friends of the longtime head of the botany department and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences to reward exceptional teaching and service.
James E. Lawler
James E. Lawler, professor of psychology, has not slowed down since he became a faculty member in 1975. During his time at UT, he has served fifteen years as department head, helped bring technology-driven teaching to UT, and received grants adding up to more than $3 million in today’s dollars. In his research, he created a successful animal model for hypertension study. The paper that first described the model was published thirty-four years ago and is still being cited today. A nominator said, “This is rather remarkable, since most published articles disappear from the citation list within five to seven years.” In addition to teaching three undergraduate classes and eight graduate classes, Lawler also teaches a noncredit course, Meditation for Stress Reduction. He has taught this course three times a year since 2004 and donates all proceeds for teaching it to local nonprofits. His students go on to achieve greatness, with one becoming a vice president at Pfizer and another the director of the National Institutes of Health Office of Disease Prevention. Lawler’s students love him and his classes. One who wrote to him said, “I enjoyed your class more than any other class I’ve taken thus far at UT in both concepts and teaching style… I’ve never met a teacher who is as willing to help students as you are.”