You might never guess that a faculty member whose philosophy is that statistics is learned by solving problems—lots of problems—would be a student favorite. But, Jerome Keating is famous for keeping his class enraptured while he shares statistical problems from his days at Bell Helicopter or consulting with NASA.
Recognizing this skill in the classroom, Keating, the Peter T. Flawn Professor of Statistics in the UTSA College of Business, was named a recipient of the prestigious Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.
Bridging the gap between abstract statistics and practical meaning, Keating is passionate about his students learning. Wanting to set his students up for success he drafted a comprehensive set of statistics notes complete with homework problems into a book for the students. He donates the royalties from the book to UTSA to fund an endowed scholarship for statistics students.
Drawing upon his experiences as a professional statistician, his credibility in the field engages the students in the subject matter. “I was fortunate to work in industry, and I have a lot of real world applications to draw upon,” said Keating, who was named a fellow in the American Statistical Association in 1997.
Throughout his career he has consulted with the United States Air Force on a project involving reading electrocardiograms of pilots; developed a patented leak detection system for underground storage tanks; and most recently assessed environmental conditions that affect performance on a NASA satellite.
“I love what I do,” he said. “I enjoy sharing what I’ve discovered with others.”
In addition to his classroom prowess, Keating has assisted students in finding internships and jobs, and he has supervised student research projects. Along the way he has developed lifelong bonds with his students.
“I am so fortunate to have so many wonderful students,” said Keating. “You touch people in different ways. I felt like I had already won the award while reading the recommendation letters from my students.”
Throughout his 35-year career at UTSA, Keating has compiled impressive honors. He received the President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching Excellence in 1989 and 2001 and the Chancellor’s Council Teaching Award in 1995 and 2001.
“My favorite part of teaching is watching the lights come on,” he said. “That aha moment when a student understands what you’ve been explaining. That transcends all that I do.”
Awarded annually in recognition of faculty members at the 15 University of Texas System institutions who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction, the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards are the Board of Regents’ highest honor.
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