Baylor Honors North Carolina State University Distinguished Professor with $250,000 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching

January 27, 2022

WACO, Texas (Jan. 27, 2022) – Baylor University has named Hollylynne S. Lee, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Statistics Education at North Carolina State University, as the 2022 recipient of the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching.

The Cherry Award is a prestigious national teaching award – with the single, largest monetary reward of $250,000 presented by a college or university to an individual for exceptional teaching. The award program is designed to honor great teachers, stimulate discussion in the academy about the value of teaching and encourage departments and institutions to recognize their own great teachers. Along with a record of distinguished scholarship, individuals nominated for the Cherry Award have proven themselves as extraordinary teachers with positive, inspiring and long-lasting effects on students.

As the 2022 Cherry Award recipient, Lee will receive the $250,000 award and an additional $25,000 for the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education at NC State. She is expected to teach in residence at Baylor during the 2023 spring semester.

Cherry Award finalists Jeb Barnes, Ph.D., professor of political science and international relations at University of Southern California, and Randy W. Roberts, Ph.D., 150th Anniversary Professor and Distinguished Professor of History at Purdue University, each received $15,000, while their home departments also received $10,000 for the development of teaching skills.

“The selection committee for the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching was very pleased with the strength of the nomination pool for the 2022 award. Each of the three finalists had successful campus visits in the fall, during which they were able to present a public lecture and guest lecture in two undergraduate classes offered by their host departments,” said Michael W. Thompson, Ph.D., committee chair and associate dean for undergraduate programs in Baylor's School of Engineering and Computer Science.

“Dr. Lee’s scholarship and teaching expertise focuses on the teaching and learning of probability, statistics and data science in grades 4-12 and early college-level courses. We were very impressed by her design and use of engaging technology tools that facilitate student learning of mathematics and statistics, as well her ability to inspire future teachers in these important fields,” Thompson said.

Lee said she was excited and honored upon learning she would receive the Cherry Award.

“When I got the call, I cried tears of joy and did a big ‘happy dance’ with my family,” Lee said. “It is such an honor to be recognized for doing what I love and for the ideas and products that developed over my 20+ year career through so many collaborations. I feel very blessed and am grateful to my family support system, colleagues and mentors who have made this all possible.

“I am an educator through and through. Having a national-level award that rewards college-level teaching from any discipline says loudly that it is not just what we teach, but how we care for, teach and mentor college students that really matters. This could not have been made truer than during a pandemic,” Lee said. “The significance of this award really became more evident to me the more I learned about the long history of the award, the commitment and vision of Robert Foster Cherry and his family and the amazing contributions and perspectives of the current and past finalists and awardees. It speaks volumes about the commitment that Baylor University has for teaching given the incredible effort that goes into the award process by Baylor faculty and staff.”

Lee visited Baylor in October 2021 to present her Cherry finalist lecture, “Data Moves and Discourse: Design Principles for Strengthening Statistics Education.” She said she looks forward to returning to the Baylor campus to teach for a semester during the next academic year.

“I am really looking forward to immersing myself in the experience through engaging with Baylor students, getting to teach new courses in a new environment and building lasting partnerships with Baylor faculty,” Lee said.

Lee earned her B.S. in secondary mathematics education from The Pennsylvania State University in 1991, her M.A.Ed. in secondary education-mathematics in 1995 from William and Mary and her Ph.D. in mathematics education from University of Virginia in 2000. She serves as Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Statistics Education at NC State. Prior to her work at the university level, she served as a K-12 teacher.

Among her many teaching awards and honors, Lee was named in 2020 as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association in recognition for excellence and advocacy in data science and statistics education and the professional development of teachers. She was honored with the UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2019-20 and named a Fellow of the International Society for Design and Development in Education in 2019.

Lee has secured millions of dollars in external and internal grant funding, and she has committed much time and energy to creating open educational resources, offering free online courses for educators from around the world and sharing research-based multimedia materials via Creative Commons licensing. Her scholarship and writings include more than 100 journal articles, book chapters and conference proceeding papers, four co-authored books and a co-edited book, “Scholarly Practices and Inquiry in the Preparation of Mathematics Teachers.”


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.