Campus News

Five faculty members named Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professors

Five University of Georgia faculty members have been named Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professors, the university’s highest recognition for excellence in instruction.

“Meigs Professors are an elite group of faculty members at an institution that places a great value on outstanding instruction,” said S. Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “I congratulate the recipients of this significant honor and thank them for their exemplary dedication to our students.”

The 2022 Meigs Professors are:

  • Steven P. Lewis, associate professor of physics in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Rebecca Matthew, associate professor in the School of Social Work;
  • Patricia Moore, professor of entomology in the College of Agricultural and Environmental
  • Lance Palmer, professor of financial planning, housing and consumer economics in the
    College of Family and Consumer Sciences; and
  • Sarah Shannon, associate professor of sociology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

Steven P. Lewis

Steven Lewis (Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA)

Lewis is an inspirational instructor who cares deeply for the intellectual growth of his students. In the classroom, he uses active learning strategies to help students make connections between course material, their own experiences and the world they inhabit. While at UGA, he has pioneered the use of Eric Mazur’s “Peer Instruction” pedagogy in large introductory physics courses. This method uses the think-pair-share strategy in parallel with lecturing to help students build a strong conceptual understanding of the material while also building problem-solving and communications skills.

Lewis also has been instrumental in introducing the SCALE-UP pedagogy, which facilitates active and collaborative learning, to UGA. As the co-leader of a SCALE-UP physics course, Lewis helped oversee the remodeling of classroom spaces in the Physics Building to make them more conducive to student-centered pedagogies. His vision for reimagining the spaces of STEM teaching has inspired several other departments on campus, as well as the Science Learning Center.

Lewis is the recipient of numerous university awards and honors, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the General Sandy Beaver Teaching Professorship, the Creative Teaching Award, the Sandy Beaver Excellence in Teaching Award and the Lilly Teaching Fellowship. He is also a co-director of the Lilly Teaching Fellows program.

Rebecca Matthew

Rebecca Matthew (Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA)

Matthew has a distinguished record of teaching excellence and an abiding commitment to mentoring students. Her pedagogy centers on community-based and experiential learning approaches, which allow students to apply key concepts in the study of social work in real-world settings.

Matthew co-led an experiential interdisciplinary educational collaboration with the Athens Well-Being Project. She supervised a team of 79 master’s-level social work students in the collection of primary, open-access, neighborhood-level data that has supported ongoing efforts to improve community health. She led 34 students in experiential learning activities that supported the Athens Community Partnership for Youth Development. She is also a co-convener and faculty advisor for the student-coordinated Athens Social Justice Symposium, which received the 2016 UGA NAACP Image Award for Advocacy and Social Justice.

Matthew has a courtesy appointment in the department of health promotion and behavior in the College of Public Health and is a faculty fellow in the Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights. She also served as the coordinator of the LACSI-PORTAL Latino Research and Outreach Initiative in the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute.

She is a recipient of numerous awards, including the Career Development and Success Recognition Award and six-time School of Social Work MSW Teacher of the Year.

Patricia Moore

Patricia Moore (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

Moore incorporates evidence-based teaching methods into her classroom and is dedicated to promoting student engagement and academic development. She is committed to providing experiential learning experiences through her mentorship of undergraduate research projects that produce tangible outcomes.

Moore views research and teaching as integrated activities. Her academic research often incorporates her undergraduates and graduate students. She has achieved an international reputation in the field of evolutionary biology with more than 60 peer-reviewed publications in top journals.

She is a facilitator in the Department and Leadership Teams for Action (DeLTA) project. This project, funded by the National Science Foundation, involves over 100 faculty over five years to transform undergraduate STEM education at UGA. Through the DeLTA team, Moore is working with faculty to develop a cohesive and impactful student experience in introductory biology.

Moore is the recipient of the D.W. Brooks Excellence in Teaching Award. She is a National Academy of Education Fellow in the life sciences. She is also a Senior Teaching Fellow and Innovative Teaching Fellow in the UGA Center for Teaching and Learning.

Lance Palmer

Lance Palmer (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)

During his time at UGA, Palmer has created and implemented innovative programs, courses and fundraising efforts on campus. His optimism and enthusiasm, combined with the innovation of his pedagogical thinking, benefit his students in the classroom and promote their long-term success.

Palmer’s focus on service-learning and professional development has given his students more than 35,000 hours of hands-on experience delivering financial services to low- and moderate-income households in the local community and state. He also has secured over $12 million in grants to support his student’s service-learning experience and success in the college’s financial planning program.

Palmer has a strong commitment to the community and has done pioneering work in his collaboration with Georgia United Credit Union and the Internal Revenue Service’s Voluntary Income Tax Assistance program. In 2006, Palmer helped reestablish the VITA program at UGA, where students prepared approximately 80 tax returns that first year. Since then, thousands more returns have been filed by students in the program. Thanks to Palmer’s collaborative work, this program has since been replicated at other colleges and universities in Georgia.

Palmer is the recipient of numerous university awards and honors, including the Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the Service-Learning Research Excellence Award, the Engaged Scholar Award, the Janette McGarity Barber Distinguished Professorship and the Lilly Teaching Fellowship.

Sarah Shannon

Sarah Shannon (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

Shannon provides her students with innovative active learning courses and engages students through a holistic mentoring model. Her commitment to mentoring has played a pivotal role in helping students discover their passions and talents.

Shannon’s teaching excellence is evident in her service-learning course, Inside-Out. This course brings UGA students together with people who are incarcerated at the local jail in a shared learning environment. Her students describe this as the most meaningful academic and social experiences of their college careers.

Shannon also currently serves as undergraduate coordinator in the department of sociology. She has trained and mentored 16 undergraduate students through the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities program. Along with this role, she is also an enthusiastic mentor to graduate students in the department. Shannon is especially devoted to securing funding for research assistants and developing them as academic researchers.

Shannon is the recipient of numerous university awards and honors, including the Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the Sandy Beaver Excellence in Teaching Award, the Service-Learning Teaching Excellence Award, the Service-Learning Fellowship, the Special Collections Library Fellowship and the Lilly Teaching Fellowship.

More information about the Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professorships is at