In addition to his brilliance and outstanding knowledge of the law, Dr. Jerry Polinard is known in the classroom for his comic sense of humor.
The UTPA political science professor and pre-law adviser not only uses his wittiness to inspire his students but also when describing himself, his career and his accomplishments.
In fact, when asked how he felt about being bestowed his latest honor, the prestigious 2010 Minnie Stevens Piper Award, Polinard made it a point to include a little joke.
UTPA Political Science Professor & Pre-Law Adviser Dr. Jerry Polinard says, "What you really like is the fact of being nominated because the nomination comes from colleagues that you know and respect but at the same time to be honored for doing something you love you just kind of say ok, I'm just hoping the previous award winners don't return theirs in protest."
The Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation named Polinard one of the top 15 professors in the state of Texas this past academic school year, recognizing him for his dedication to teaching and outstanding scholarly achievement.
This mark of distinction came with a certificate of merit, a gold pin and a $5,000 honorarium.
While very deserving of the honor, Polinard had no specific reason for his success in the classroom.
Dr. Jerry Polinard says, Some people are very dynamic when they lecture. I fall asleep during my lecture so I'm not very good at that at all. I enjoy more of a kind of a Socratic give and take discussion method. That works for me and not for some others. Students respond to all kinds of teaching. I don't think there's anything in particular that stands out, probably an advantage I have as you can tell by looking is I'm experienced. I've been doing this a lot time."
Even though Polinard has been teaching for a long time, since 1972 to be exact, it is still his passion.
"The classroom to me is magic. Every day I go in I think my goodness you know it's hard to believe I get paid to do this," says Dr. Polinard.
His former students can vouch for his love for teaching and experience that has media organizations from across the globe seeking his expertise on Texas politics.
Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid Attorney Kayla Dreyer says, "He would say the best advice I can give to you is check your ego at the door and that has been the best piece of advice that I've ever been given and it's followed me in law school and in my career because you can't learn, you can't grow if you think you're above it."