13 years ago
Josanne Howard

Engaging, dynamic and passionate are the three most frequently used words to describe Paul Tracy, UTD’s teacher of the year.

“Dr. Tracy is a great teacher because he takes the time to listen to you and he acts more like an advisor than a teacher,” said one of his students, Lauren Kopplin, freshman criminal justice major.


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Tracy has been at UTD since fall 1992 and founded the criminology department, which he now heads.

Before teaching at UTD, Tracy published five books and numerous scholarly articles in sociology and criminology literature. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.


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According to Tracy’s website, he specializes in the study of criminal careers, juvenile delinquency and policy issues in the criminal and juvenile justice system.

Even though his background in criminology is extensive, Tracy received the teaching award because of student nominations, teacher evaluations and endorsements from deans.

“Student nominations are taken mostly into consideration,” said Larry Terry, Executive Vice Provost. “Tracy has a command of his subject matter and is very passionate. He makes the work come alive to the students.”

The Chancellor’s Council Outstanding Teaching Awards Committee handles nominations for the teaching award. It then selects the teacher who has contributed most to UTD.

The committee consists of three previous winners, the dean of undergraduate studies and the president of Student Government Association.

Tracy was selected from a pool of 90 UTD professors.

“The evidence was just overwhelming. Dr. Tracy had a large number of passionate nominations. All students felt well served in his classroom,” said Marion Underwood, assistant professor of psychology.

This semester, Tracy has taught two classes “Homicide and Capital Punishment” and “Social Control and Criminal Sanctions.” Tracy continues researching subject matter in criminology and is extremely involved with the Texas Criminal Justice Division.

According to his résumé, Tracy is a member of the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Task Force and conducts analyses of the juvenile justice system.

“Dr. Tracy incorporates his research into his teaching and stays current by writing books. His enthusiasm is contagious and that helps students like the subject matter more,” Terry said.

Tracy will be honored in the Honors Convention for spring graduation.