Campus Life

Texas A&M Honors Two Profs With Teaching Excellence Award

May 10, 2017


By Chad Wootton, Texas A&M Office of the Provost

Dr. Tatiana Erukhimova, instructional associate professor in Texas A&M University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Science, and Dr. Reuben A. Buford May, professor of sociology and Glasscock University Professor in Undergraduate Teaching Excellence in the College of Liberal Arts, have been named recipients of the 2017 Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence Award, the most prestigious faculty honor bestowed by Texas A&M.

“Transformational learning is imperative to the success of Texas A&M and the capabilities of our students to change the world,” said President Michael K. Young.  “I am proud to recognize the excellent teaching of Dr. May and Dr. Erukhimova with this honor.”

Tatiana Erukhimova.
Tatiana Erukhimova.

Tatiana Erukhimova

Tatiana Erukhimova, instructional associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, earned her Ph.D. from the Russian Academy of Sciences. She joined the faculty in the College of Science in 2006. Her passion for inspiring learning in science has motivated creation of several innovative programs, which integrate education with science outreach and service to the community including DEEP (Discover, Explore, and Enjoy Physics and Engineering), Physics Show, Just Add Science, and Real Physics Live. Dr. Erukhimova coordinates the Texas A&M University Physics and Engineering Festival, an event attracting several thousand visitors annually.  Combining high expectations with devoted support, Dr. Erukhimova transforms the relationship her students have with physics – building confidence and success by helping them, as one student put it, to “see physics everywhere.” As another student said, her lectures “skillfully blend the intensity of physics with an atmosphere of excitement and fun”. Dr. Erukhimova is a coauthor (with Gerald R. North) of the textbook, Atmospheric Thermodynamics, published by Cambridge University Press (2009). She is a recipient of three Texas A&M University Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Awards for Teaching – one at the University level and two College level awards. She was recognized three times by the Texas A&M University System Student Led Awards for Teaching Excellence (SLATE), received the John E. Trott, Jr. Award in Student Recruiting, and earned Sigma Xi’s Outstanding Science Communicator Award.

Reuben A. Buford May.
Reuben A. Buford May.

Reuben A. Buford May

Reuben A. Buford May, professor of sociology and Glasscock University Professor in Undergraduate Teaching Excellence, earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.  He joined the faculty of the College of Liberal Arts in 2005. His research expertise includes race and ethnicity, urban sociology and sociology of sport.  His research has been widely honored and his 2008 book, Living Through the Hoop: High School Basketball, Race and the American Dream, received the book of the year award from the Association of Humanist Sociology. His most recent book, Urban Nightlife: Entertaining, Race, Class and Culture in Public Space, published by Rutgers University Press (2014), has already garnered positive reviews by highly regarded race scholars, such as William Julius Wilson and Frederick Wherry. Dr. May is known for engaging his students and for the enthusiasm and energy he brings to lectures, including the “rhymes” and occasional instructional rapping he intermixes with the Socratic method.  Dr. May was the recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visiting Professorship at MIT and was awarded a prestigious fellowship from the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.  He subsequently received three teaching awards while on the faculty of the University of Georgia and is a recipient of the Texas A&M University Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching.

The award was established in 2003 to underscore the importance of teaching at a major research university. The “Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence,” each carries a one-time, after-tax stipend of $25,000.  Each awardee bears the designation for the remainder of their career. To be eligible for the award, nominees must be full time faculty and hold the rank of Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor or Distinguished Professor.

Professors Erukhimova and May will be formally introduced during the university’s spring commencement ceremonies at which their respective colleges will award degrees.  A lecture series is being planned for upcoming academic year for these professors to share their expertise with colleagues and continuing enhancement for transformational learning at Texas A&M.


Media contact: Chad Wootton, associate vice president for external affairs, (979) 845-4016 or

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