2024 Cherry Award for Great Teaching Finalists Set to Lecture on Baylor’s Campus

October 24, 2023
Cherry Award Lecture Series 2023

Contact: Shelby Cefaratti-Bertin, Baylor University Media & Public Relations, 254-327-8012
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WACO, Texas (Oct. 24, 2023) – Three finalists for Baylor University’s 2024 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching will present their public lectures in person on the Baylor campus on Oct. 24, Oct. 30 and Nov. 6. In addition, all three lectures will be livestreamed on the Cherry Award’s page at their respective times.

The Cherry Award exposes Baylor students to the best teachers in the country. The three finalists are invited to campus to participate in teaching demonstrations and give a public lecture.

“These events provide an opportunity for Baylor students and faculty to observe the most innovative teachers in action,” said Kevin Dougherty, Ph.D., committee chair and professor of sociology at Baylor. “Responses from students and faculty are part of the decision-making process in selecting a recipient.”

The finalists are:

  • Jay Banner, Ph.D., F.M. Bullard Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences in the Jackson School of Geosciences and director of the Environmental Science Institute at the University of Texas, who will present his Cherry Award finalist lecture on “21st Century Texas: Climate, water, science, and society” at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, in room B.110 of the Baylor Sciences Building, 101 Bagby Ave.
  • Kelly Lambert, Ph.D., MacEldin Trawick Chair and professor of behavioral neuroscience at the University of Richmond, who will present her Cherry Award finalist lecture on “Brain Sculpting: Stranger than fiction tales of neuroplasticity” at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30, in the Paul and Jane Meyer Conference Center, room 250, Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation, 1621 S. Third St.
  • Claire Katz, Ph.D., Claude H. Everette Jr. ’47 Endowed Chair in Education and professor of philosophy and education at Texas A&M, who will present her Cherry Award finalist lecture on “Inquiring Minds: Philosophical Communities and Transformational Education” at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6, in the McLean Foyer of Meditation at Armstrong Browning Library located at 701 Speight Ave.

The Robert Foster Cherry Award is the only national teaching award – with the single largest monetary reward – presented by a college or university to an individual for exceptional teaching. The Cherry Award recipient will receive a prize of $250,000 and will teach in residence at Baylor during the 2024 fall or 2025 spring semester. In addition, the award recipient’s home department will receive $25,000. The winning professor will be announced Spring 2024.

“For over 30 years, the Cherry Award has recognized and celebrated outstanding teaching. The award reflects Baylor University’s commitment to transformational education,” Dougherty said.

This year’s award lectures will feature a diverse group of finalists who focus on a wide variety of subject matter.

“Great teaching is not contingent on specific content,” Dougherty said. “The 2024 Cherry Award finalists are innovative educators who guide students to high-impact learning in geology, philosophy, and neuroscience.”

The Cherry Award was created by Robert Foster Cherry. In 1929, he earned his A.B. from Baylor University. Three years later, he enrolled in the Baylor Law School and passed the Texas State Bar Examination the following year. With deep admiration and appreciation for the teachers in his life, he made an exceptional estate bequest to establish the Cherry Award, which recognizes excellent teachers and brings their brilliance to Baylor University students. His generosity to his alma mater continues to benefit new generations. The first Robert Foster Cherry Award was made in 1991 and has been awarded biennially.


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 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.