Outstanding faculty recognized by the college

The College of Veterinary Medicine recently honored four faculty with the college’s top teaching awards, recognizing the work of exceptional teaching in the college’s mission of educating future veterinarians and biomedical scientists.

“The faculty honored are truly outstanding clinicians, researchers and educators and are exemplars of the numerous dedicated faculty at the College of Veterinary Medicine,” said Dan Givens, DVM, associate dean for Academic Affairs.

The recipients, who are nominated by students and supported by faculty, of the 2018-19 Teaching Awards, are:

The Zoetis Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award

The Zoetis Teacher of the Year Award was presented to Ellen Behrend, VMD, Ph.D., DACVIM, who is the Joezy Griffin Endowed Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences.

Known as the AAVMC Teacher Award sponsored by Zoetis, the award was first given in 1963 and is the most distinguished teaching award presented at the college.

The award was established to improve veterinary medical education by recognizing outstanding teachers, who, through their ability, dedication, character and leadership, contribute significantly to the advancement of the profession.

Students commented about Dr. Behrend in nominating her for the award: “probably my favorite professor in vet school”; “her teaching methods are phenomenal, everything she presents is short and to the point and she is great at emphasizing main points … I would be happy if she taught everything”; and “she expected us to have a deep understanding about the material, but she taught us how to think about the diseases and cases rather than bullet points to memorize.”

SAVMA Distinguished Teaching Award

The Student American Veterinary Medical Association Distinguished Teaching Award was presented to Elaine Coleman, DVM, Ph.D., associate professor of veterinary anatomy and neuroscience in the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology.

“Dedication, commitment, excellence, compassion, empathy,” said Edward Morrison, MS, Ph.D., professor and Head of the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology, in making the announcement. “Those are all terms that describe what a good teacher is and all those terms apply to the awardees today and the rest of the faculty at the college. You are so fortunate to have some many outstanding instructors.

Coleman is “no exception, serving as a mentor, a leader … [and] has been recognized by Auburn University as an outstanding teacher at the university.”

The Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

The Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Dean Schwartz, Ph.D., associate professor of physiology in the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology.

“Teaching doesn’t come easy; it takes a tremendous amount of effort and dedication,” said Edward Morrison, head of the department.

Schwartz leads a “help session on his own every morning in a difficult core course that is a foundation for what you will be learning in clinical sciences and the foundation for what you need as a professional. Physiology is hard, but once you learn the foundation it becomes fun and it gives you the confidence to succeed.”

The award, given since 2000, recognizes an outstanding teacher, and the selection is based on student nominations.

The SGA Teacher of the Year Award

The SGA Teacher of the Year Award was presented to Joe Rowe, DVM, an anatomy lecturer in the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology.

“Quite confidence, patience and the ability to present complex problems and underlie that with clinical applications and how meaningful basic concepts are to understand clinical applications,” Morrison said. “Further, to put another layer on that, is to understand how to approach that in surgical anatomy.

“The application to transmit that information consistently at a high level of excellence is impressive … and no one excels in the anatomy lab as well as Joe Rowe does in connecting you with these concepts,” Morrison told students in making the award.

The award is presented to the outstanding teacher based on evaluation and selection by the college’s students.

# # #

(Written by Janet McCoy)