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School of Business Professor Receives 2009 UM Faculty Senate Award for Teaching Excellence

April 02, 2009
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   Anita Cava Award Ceremony
 
Outstanding Teaching Award recipient Anita Cava
(center) with (left to right) UM President Donna E.
Shalala, UM Faculty Senate Chair Stephen Sapp, Dean
Barbara Kahn and Vice Dean of Faculty A. Parasuraman.

“A good teacher instructs — a great teacher inspires.
“A good teacher explains — a great teacher uncovers.
“A good teacher is knowledgeable — a great teacher is inquisitive.
“By all three measures, and many, many more, Anita Cava is a great teacher.”

With those words, University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala began her remarks at a ceremony on March 30 at which Anita Cava, associate professor of business law, co-director of UM Ethics Programs and director of the Business Ethics Program, received the University of Miami Faculty Senate’s 2009 Outstanding Teaching Award. Cava accepted the award from Faculty Senate Chair Stephen Sapp.

The Faculty Senate established the university-wide award in 2002 to recognize a distinguished record of teaching by a UM faculty member. This is the first time a professor from the School of Business has received the award, and Cava’s nomination was approved by a unanimous vote of the Faculty Senate on November 19.

Cava, who joined the faculty in 1985 after a career as an attorney, has taken her law and ethics teachings out of the classroom, across the campus and into the community by spearheading the creation of the MBA Consultants to Non-Profit Business Project, the Arsht Ethics Initiatives and UM’s nationally ranked ethics debate team.

“Anita makes learning come alive so that the walls of the classroom become transparent, and the doors swing open for discovery,” noted Shalala. “The lessons are absorbed more than learned and are both tangible and transcendental — and they are always, always transformational.”

Cava received two standing ovations from the audience of colleagues, alumni family and friends during the award ceremony. As testimony to the way she builds — and keeps — relationships, that audience included her 1st grade Girl Scout leader, her 12th grade English teacher and more than two dozen former students. A. Parasuraman, the School’s vice dean of faculty, who had nominated Cava for the award and called her “a master teacher, a teacher’s teacher” in his remarks at the ceremony, read from some of the nearly 100 congratulatory letters and e-mails she had received from alumni.

When she stood to speak, Cava expressed her gratitude at the outpouring of good wishes from those former students, and she congratulated Dean Barbara Kahn on creating the powerful alumni network presence that made their communications possible. She also spoke of a passion for teaching that extends beyond the classroom and the excitement of seeing her students stretch and grow through extracurricular activities.

“Looking ahead,” Cava said, “I see our classroom and extracurricular activities linking our university more and more with the community. We now know beyond any question that an education must include strong lessons in citizenship and civic responsibility, compassion and sharing. … We are all role models, and our students are watching us for guidance in these difficult times.”
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