The L. R. Hesler Award is named for a longtime head of the botany department who also served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Hesler’s students, colleagues, and friends established this memorial award to recognize exceptional teaching and service.
Michael Handelsman, professor in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, tries to ensure that every interaction with students is meaningful. Although he logs more than 150 advising appointments plus numerous advising workshops each year, he strives to nurture students and help them grow through every meeting. “He has contributed to a vibrant and engaged culture of advising excellence … such that our colleagues feel energized and empowered to work closely with undergraduates to identify their strengths and unlock their potential,” his nominator wrote.
For more than three decades, Handelsman has worked to establish partnerships between UT and institutions in Latin America, developing programs in Latin American studies and global studies here at UT. He also serves as faculty director of UT’s Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships and is a faculty associate of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. In his nominator’s words, “His work impacts on all levels, from the grassroots of the liberal arts environment to the cultivation of global relationships for student and faculty.”