Boston University Recognizes Three Professors May 20 for Excellence in Teaching Honors

Contact: Richard Taffe, 617-353-4626 |

(Boston) — Boston University at Commencement today bestowed its highest teaching award to Professor Jeffrey E. Beatty, an associate professor in the School of Management’s Strategy & Policy Department who teaches both business and law courses. One of nearly 3,500 faculty members at BU, Beatty was named the 34th recipient of the Metcalf Cup and Prize.

The university also recognized two faculty members as recipients of Metcalf Awards for Teaching Excellence: Penelope Bitzas, an associate professor in the College of Fine Arts’ School of Music and former chairman of the Voice Department; and Eric P. Widmaier, a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Biology and chairman of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee for BU’s main Charles River campus.

“As Boston University’s highest honor, the Metcalf Awards for Excellence in Teaching symbolize our commitment to exemplary instruction and scholarship and serve as a means to express our gratitude to the professors recognized by this distinction,” said BU President Robert Brown.

The Metcalf Cup carries with it a prize of $10,000. Each Metcalf Award winner receives a prize of $5,000. Students, faculty and alumni nominate candidates for the Metcalf Cup and Prize, as well as the Metcalf Awards. The honors were established in 1973 by a gift from the late trustee chairman emeritus Arthur G.B. Metcalf.

Jeffrey E. Beatty
“I want undergraduates to become excited about major issues, to glimpse some of the gears and levers that propel society,” said Professor Beatty, the co-author of four law texts, who put this desire into practice by creating a law concentration of six courses at the School of Management. He continually updates the texts to keep up with changes in law and the classes to offer fresh material. “It is essential that a professor inject steady energy,” he said. “A professor content to teach from last year’s notes should quit.”

Professor Beatty joined the BU faculty in 1988 after serving “of counsel” to a Boston law firm and representing indigent clients through the Greater Boston Legal Services organization. He is a graduate of the Boston University School of Law and earned an undergraduate degree from Sarah Lawrence College. At BU he also serves as chairman of the school’s Committee on Academic Conduct.

Penelope Bitzas
“I have always felt it was my mission to bring music to people in various ways and it was probably inevitable that I would,” said Professor Bitzas, who actively recruits her opera students, teaches them, and then personally guides them to professional jobs in operas around the world. “There are no two voices alike and that is part of the puzzle of teaching a singer,” she said. “For me, to discover and develop the singer’s true sound is a very exciting journey.”

A Worcester, Mass., native, and prolific solo performer in her own right, Professor Bitzas joined the Boston University faculty in 1993. She received a bachelor’s degree in music in voice performance, magna cum laude, from Ithaca College and a master’s of music in voice performance from the New England Conservatory of Music.

Eric P. Widmaier
“First and foremost, an outstanding teacher is one who has a mastery of his or her subject material,” said Professor Widmaier, author of two science trade books for the general public (“Why Geese Don’t Get Obese” and “The Stuff of Life”) and lead author of the highest selling undergraduate physiology textbook in the world (“Vander’s Human Physiology”). “My lectures tend to be brimming with confidence,” he said, “and that attitude rubs off on the students.”

Professor Widmaier joined the Boston University faculty in 1988 and has since taught some 3,500 students, most of which were headed into careers in the life sciences, notably medicine, dentistry, and veterinary science. He earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biological sciences from Northwestern University, and a doctorate in endocrinology from the University of California at San Francisco.

Boston University is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States, with an enrollment of more than 30,000 students in its 17 schools and colleges.