Mike Pinter Named 2012 Tennessee Professor of the Year

Belmont professors selected five times since 2000 for statewide honor

Belmont University’s Dr. Mike Pinter, professor of mathematics and director of the Teaching Center, was named today as the 2012 Tennessee Professor of the Year, an award selection determined by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Dr. Pinter, who is currently in Washington, D.C. for special ceremonies to receive his award, was selected from nearly 300 top professors in the United States. Belmont will be holding its own celebration to honor Dr. Pinter on Nov. 27 from 3-5 p.m. in the Vince Gill Room in the Curb Event Center on campus.

“I’m very excited about receiving the award which will stand as one of the highlights of my teaching career,” Pinter said. “I’m honored to have been nominated by Belmont. I am also humbled by the knowledge that I’m surrounded by many gifted and dedicated teachers among our Belmont faculty whose efforts are not being publicly noted. Mostly, I’m grateful to have creative and hard-working students and colleagues who help me to continually develop by challenging me to keep my imagination alive for teaching and learning ideas.”

Several colleagues, students and alumni offered input and recommendations for Dr. Pinter’s nomination. Here are a few highlights of how they described Tennessee’s 2012 Professor of the Year:
 
Mike is not just a teacher of the technicalities and intellectual complexities of mathematics; he is somehow able to teach his students about life and living….” —Dr. Pete Giordano, professor of psychology
 
“Dr. Pinter’s class was very cool, and yet still instructive. But Dr. Pinter has had the biggest impact on me outside of the classroom setting with the extra time and support he has given me, and that is how I will remember him. Dr. Pinter is a great teacher but most of all I consider him a great person.” —Corey Schmidt, current Belmont student
 
“As a student of Dr. Pinter’s, what I appreciated most about him was the careful thought and planning he put into each class… He structured his assignments, his projects, his exams and his classroom time around the foundational premise of wanting to pass something on.” —Rebecca McKelvey, 2003 Belmont alumna

Belmont University Provost Dr. Thomas Burns added, “Belmont strives to be a leader among teaching universities. Dr. Mike Pinter’s achievements reflect our deep commitment to our students and their success.  Dr. Pinter is an active scholar, a dedicated mentor and a committed teacher. His selection as Tennessee Professor of the Year recognizes his continued pursuit of excellence in teaching and his service to our students and his colleagues. With this award, and with Dr. Pinter’s role as the Director of the Belmont University Teaching Center, we are both thankful and extremely proud to have him represent Tennessee’s teaching community.”

After growing up on the family dairy farm in Morrilton, Arkansas, Dr. Pinter graduated from Hendrix College (Conway, Ark.). He holds advanced degrees from the University of Mississippi (M.Ed. in College Student Personnel Work) and Vanderbilt University (an M.S. and Ph.D. in Mathematics). In addition to serving as a Belmont faculty member in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science since 1989, Dr. Pinter has held numerous positions within the Belmont community. From 1998-2002, he was associate dean for the School of Sciences, and he served as director of the Teaching Center from 2003-06, a position he now holds again. During 2007-08, he filled the role of interim dean for the College of Arts and Sciences. In addition to regularly teaching general education mathematics courses and the upper-level combinatorics course, he also teaches Analytics: Math Models for students in the Honors Program and a First-Year Seminar course that focuses on issues related to limitations (including disabilities). Dr. Pinter is married to Dr. Robbie Pinter who has been a Belmont English Department faculty member since 1984. Their son Nicholas is a recent Benton Hall Academy graduate.

Dr. Bryce Sullivan, dean of Belmont’s College of Arts and Sciences, said, “The fact that Dr. Pinter received the CASE teaching award confirms what is well known about him: he is an amazing teacher! His gift and scholarly approach to teaching, his humility and his heart for students are some of his characteristics that exemplify what it means to be the very best. It’s exciting that Mike received this recognition that he so richly deserves.”

Belmont University professors represent five of the past dozen Tennessee Professors of the Year: 2000 winner Dr. Mike Awalt (Philosophy), 2001 winner Dr. David Julseth (Spanish), 2007 winner Dr. Pete Giordano (Psychology), 2008 winner Dr. John Gonas (Finance) and Dr. Pinter as the 2012 selection.

CASE and the Carnegie Foundation have been partners in offering the U.S. Professors of the Year awards program since 1981. TIAA-CREF, one of America’s leading financial services organizations and higher education’s premier retirement system, became the principal sponsor for the awards ceremony in 2000. Additional support for the program is received from a number of higher education associations, including Phi Beta Kappa, which sponsors an evening congressional reception.

This year, a state Professor of the Year was recognized in 30 states and the District of Columbia. CASE assembled two preliminary panels of judges to select finalists. The Carnegie Foundation then convened the third and final panel, which selected four national winners. CASE and Carnegie select state winners from top entries resulting from the judging process. Dr. Pinter was selected from faculty members nominated by colleges and universities throughout the country.

About the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center that supports needed transformations in American education through tighter connections between teaching practice, evidence of student learning, the communication and use of this evidence, and structured opportunities to build knowledge.

About the Council for Advancement and Support of Education
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in London, Singapore and Mexico City, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals at all levels who work in alumni relations, communications, fundraising, marketing and other areas.


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Ranked No. 5 in the Regional Universities South category and named for the seventh consecutive year as one of the top “Up-and-Comer” universities by U.S. News & World Report, Belmont University consists of approximately 7,300 students who come from every state and more than 25 countries. Committed to being a leader among teaching universities, Belmont brings together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service. The University’s purpose is to help students explore their passions and develop their talents to meet the world’s needs, With more than 80 areas of undergraduate study, 22 master’s programs and five doctoral degrees, there is no limit to the ways Belmont University can expand an individual's horizon.

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