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.
Over the past three years, Marianne Breinig, professor and associate head of the graduate program in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has produced about a quarter of all student credit hours in the department. Students say her teaching style and use of classroom technology help to make physics “enjoyable, interesting, and less daunting.” Breinig has spent her career pushing for improved course instruction. For example, despite the prevalence of fiber optics, UT had barely any offerings in the field. Breinig helped the department acquire the necessary technology and had the technical savvy to use and teach optical concepts, and what started as a small class has now grown to two full labs. Additionally, Breinig has served in leadership roles on multiple committees and counsels, and has taken the time to share her highly successful teaching techniques with faculty across the campus.