The Order of Omega Greek honor society has chosen Wendel Werner as the faculty member of the month.
The organization created the special recognition in order “to recognize teachers who have impacted students’ lives,” said Jessica Henshaw, the society’s president and a senior in marketing and logistics. The chapter nominates faculty members and, after discussion, votes on which professor it feels is worthy of recognition. The award includes an honorary initiation into the Order of Omega, as well as a small gift.
Martin Penny, senior in political science and a member of Order of Omega said during his sophomore year Werner taught his History of Rock and Roll class. He praised Werner’s devotion to the class, to his students and to making learning fun.
Though the class started at 8 a.m., Penny said Werner’s course made his mornings exciting. “One day he would dress like a hippie, and the next he would dress like the Beatles. You never knew what Wendel was going to come up with next,” Penny said.
Roger Stephens, director of the School of Music, said Wendell is not the only one to receive recognition.
“This is a tremendous honor for Wendel and the school,” he said.
Stephens said it was gratifying to see recognition for one of the few general education courses the School of Music offers. He also said students get up at 8 a.m. and walk to the Hill, not because they have to, but because they want to attend Werner’s lecture.
“Wendel is one of the most creative professors on our staff,” Stephens said. “Students do not miss his classes and in fact, are upset if they are unable to attend…”
Barbara Murphy, associate director of the music school and a professor of music theory, said Werner is a popular professor with students.
“I always tell professor Werner that he could use Thompson-Boiling Arena and be able to fill it up,” Murphy said.
But in the midst of everyone’s praise, Werner was humbled in receiving the award.
“Did I expect to win? Of course not. I don’t ever think about these things,” he said. “I just go and try to figure out how to teach my material in an interesting manner.”
Werner said it is rewarding to know his efforts are recognized and that he will continue to teach creatively, regardless of awards.
“I believe the job of the teacher is to inspire. That’s what I’m trying to do,” he said.
UT’s Order of Omega chapter has close to 150 members from fraternities and sororities in the junior and senior classes who are selected according to academic and extracurricular requirements.
“The purpose is to recognize those students who have attained a high standard of leadership in inter-Greek activities… and to bring together member of the faculty, alumni and student members of the institution’s fraternities and sororities on a basis of mutual interest, understanding and cooperation,” Henshaw said.