In 2004, the Betty M. Unterberger Award for Outstanding Service to Honors Education was created and presented to Dr. Unterberger in recognition of her many years of service and significant contribution to the growth and development of honors education at Texas A&M. The 2017 recipient of the Unterberger Award is Dr. Sara Alpern.
Dr. Alpern earned her undergraduate degree in history and English at Western Reserve University, her M.A. in history from University of California at Los Angeles, and a Ph. D. in history from the University of Maryland, College Park. A member of the Texas A&M History Department since 1977 she taught the first course in U.S. Women’s History in 1979 and helped develop a growing Women and Gender Studies Program. Her publications within the fields of U.S. Women’s History and late 19th and 20th Century U.S. History include biographies, the history of women in business, the effects of woman suffrage and Jewish women in U. S. history. In 1991 she became the first President of an officially recognized Women’s Faculty Network (WFN) of TAMU. In 2016 she received the WFN’s Founder’s Award. Alpern has also received many awards for her research and teaching including a Texas A&M University Distinguished Teaching. In 2009 she was selected as one of 12 “Extraordinary Women Faculty” by the Aggie Women.
Dr. Alpern’s significant investment in Honors education at Texas A&M has spanned close to four decades. She served on the Honors Program Committee from 1979-1981 and again from 2004-2007. She was awarded Honors curriculum development grants in 1991, 1994, and 2004, and has taught Honors courses throughout her career ranging from survey history courses to upper-division courses in U.S. Women’s History and U.S. Business Women’s History. Dr. Alpern served as a faculty mentor for students completing Honors theses through the University Undergraduate Research Fellows program (a precursor to the Undergraduate Research Scholars program) in 2003-2004 and 2005-226. She was recognized with the Honors Teacher/Scholar Award in 2005-2006 for enhancing her teaching through her innovative scholarship. Dr. Alpern also helped establish the future of Honors education at Texas A&M by serving on the President’s Task Force on Enhancing the Undergraduate Experience – Subcommittee on Enhancing Honors Opportunities from 2005-2006, the report of which committee set the stage for the growth of Honors opportunities on campus over the last decade.