Monday, May 24, 2010


View video of Dr. David Sabatini, University of Oklahoma 2010 Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in College/University Teaching.

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence announced today the winners of its Oklahoma Medal for Excellence awards honoring five outstanding educators in Oklahoma’s public schools.

The prestigious awards were presented at the foundation’s 24th annual Academic Awards Banquet on May 22 at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center.

Each of the five winners received a $5,000 cash prize and a glass “Roots and Wings” sculpture, designed by the late Oklahoma artist Ron Roberts and produced by Jim Triffo of Oklahoma City. Medals are awarded annually to outstanding Oklahoma teachers, one each at the elementary, secondary, community college/regional university and research university levels. In addition, the foundation will present a Medal for Excellence to an exceptional administrator from the elementary or secondary level.

This year’s recipients of the Medals for Excellence in Teaching are: Diane Reece, Bokoshe Elementary School, BOKOSHE; elementary level; Dr. Randy M. Baker, Putnam City North High School, OKLAHOMA CITY, secondary level; Audrey Schmitz, instructor of visual art, Northern Oklahoma College, TONKAWA, regional university/community college level; and Dr. David A. Sabatini, professor of civil engineering and environmental science at the University of Oklahoma, NORMAN, research university level. The recipient of the Medal for Excellence in elementary/secondary administration is Terry E. Davidson, superintendent of Comanche Public Schools, COMANCHE.

“We know that education is the best investment Oklahoma can make in its future,” said David L. Boren, founder and chairman of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, a non-profit organization that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in the state’s public schools. “By honoring these exceptional educators, we are sending a message that Oklahomans deeply value excellence in public schools and the professionals who have given so much of themselves to enrich the lives of our children.”

Dr. David A. Sabatini, who holds the David Ross Boyd Professorship and Sun Oil Company Chair at the OU School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, has been named winner of the 2010 Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Teaching at a Research University. An internationally recognized researcher and environmental scientist, Sabatini has also received numerous teaching honors for his ability to help students understand complex engineering concepts and to apply them to real-world problems. “My goal as a teacher is to help mold the lives of my students, motivating them to set their sights high and inspiring them to make the world a better place,” Sabitini said. Not only does Sabatini teach upper-level and graduate courses, but he also teaches introductory engineering courses and involves freshmen in actual design projects to help them gain excitement for engineering. In the classroom, Sabatini uses analogies and common every-day examples to explain difficult concepts. He uses hands-on demonstrations, peer mentoring and role playing to accommodate the variety of learning styles. Sabatini strives to develop relationships with each of his students. He regularly invites students to participate in extracurricular discussion groups on books such as “Lincoln on Leadership” to help students gain important career and life skills. Sabatini also seeks to shape global citizens through service learning opportunities. As the director of OU’s WaTER (Water Technologies for Emerging Regions) Center, Sabatini has engaged OU students in engineering projects that have brought safe drinking water and improved sanitation to villages in Asia, Africa and Central America. “Professor Sabatini has been, without a doubt, the best teacher I have ever had, and he continues to serve as my role model as a teacher, as a researcher and as a person,” wrote former student Edgar Acosta.

OFE News Release
February 28, 2010

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