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National Carnegie/CASE Awards Tap U of M's Heath as Top Professor in Tennessee University News
For release: November 18, 2010

For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901-678-2843


Dr. Julia Heath
Dr. Julia Heath
Dr. Julia Heath, University of Memphis professor of economics, has been named the 2010 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Tennessee Professor of the Year. This award is given jointly from the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). She is one of 46 state winners, chosen from more than 300 outstanding professors throughout the United States.

Dr. Heath, the other state winners, and four national winners, one each for the categories of baccalaureate colleges, community colleges, doctoral and research universities, and master’s universities and colleges, will be honored at a luncheon in Washington, D.C., today, followed by a Congressional reception.

“This is beyond amazing,” Dr. Heath said.  “This award is only given once every two years and is sponsored by one of the most respected organizations associated with education, so to be recognized with such a prestigious award is very humbling.  I can’t imagine doing anything other than teaching, and to have my work in that profession recognized and validated in such a way is very gratifying.”

Dr. Shirley Raines, president of the University of Memphis and the person who nominated Dr. Heath for the award, said, “Dr. Julie Heath is exactly the kind of professor whom the Carnegie/CASE awards seek to honor.  In my nomination to the judging panels, I cited the engaged scholarship that she has provided locally and in cooperation with the State of Tennessee and First Tennessee Bank in the area of financial literacy.

“While her work with financial literacy has been recognized, it is her dedication to her students and to her profession that makes her such an extraordinary representative of the many outstanding professors who teach, research, and serve at the University of Memphis.

“Hers is a well-deserved award.”

In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate classes – primarily micro theory, principles, the economics of sports and labor – Dr. Heath is the director of the Center for Economic Education at the U of M.  In that role, with the support of the state of Tennessee and First Tennessee, she initiated the Smart Tennessee program, which teaches financial literacy to children in elementary, middle, and high schools across the state.  Since its inception in 2006, the program has been adopted by over 400 schools and has taught over 75,000 children.

Dr. Heath is the recipient of a number of other honors and awards, including the economics discipline’s highest award, the Kenneth G. Elzinga Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Educator of the Year Award from the National Association for Financial Literacy, both in 2008.  She received the Harold Love Award for Community Involvement in 2007, and in 2006 she was named the Financial Educator of the Year by the Tennessee Bankers Association.

At the University of Memphis, she has received the two highest teaching awards, the Thomas W. Briggs Foundation’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2000, and the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2010. She has also received a Teaching Excellence Fellowship from the College of Business and Economics.

Dr. Heath is a member of the National Association of Economic Educators, a member of the national Board of Directors of the Council for Economic Education, and a member of the Economics Standing Committee of the National Assessment of Education Progress.

She received her Ph.D. degree in Economics at the University of South Carolina in 1986, specializing in labor economics and quantitative methods. She received a Visiting Research Fellowship to Princeton University to conduct research in economics education and has published extensively in the area. She has also been the principal investigator for many research grants, including one from the Rockefeller Foundation.

CASE assembled two preliminary panels of judges to select finalists. The Carnegie Foundation then convened the third and final panel, which selected four national winners. CASE and Carnegie select state winners from top entries resulting from the judging process. The awardees were selected from faculty members nominated by colleges and universities throughout the country.  Dr. Heath was nominated by U of M President Shirley Raines.

CASE and the Carnegie Foundation have been partners in offering the U.S. Professors of the Year awards program since 1981. TIAA-CREF, one of America's leading financial services organizations and higher education's premier retirement system, became the principal sponsor for the awards luncheon in 2000. Additional support for the program is received from a number of higher education associations, including Phi Beta Kappa, which sponsors an evening congressional reception.

Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered in 1906 by an Act of Congress, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center with a primary mission “to do and perform all things necessary to encourage, uphold and dignify the profession of the teacher.” The improvement of teaching and learning is central to all of the work of the foundation.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is one of the largest international associations of education institutions, serving more than 3,400 universities, colleges, schools and related organizations in 63 countries. CASE is the leading resource for professional development, information and standards in the fields of education fundraising, communications, marketing and alumni relations.

TIAA-CREF is a national financial services organization and the leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.

Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest academic honor society. Its mission is to champion the liberal arts and sciences in higher education, to recognize academic excellence and to foster freedom of thought and expression.

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