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Past Winners of the Teacher of the Week

Doris Zallen


The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes Doris Zallen, professor of Science and Technology in Society, for her enthusiastic and tireless efforts to educate both student and public audiences on the controversial ethical and social issues arising out of dramatic advances in science, medicine, and technology.

Doris Zallen’s work in undergraduate and graduate teaching for nearly three decades has allowed Virginia Tech to become one of the first universities in the country to offer significant instruction in bioethics. The pedagogy in her highly popular courses has included: using actual case studies to reveal the complex issues involved; creating novel classroom exercises (e.g., role playing, mock ethics-committee meetings, dramatized vignettes) to promote student engagement and understanding; introducing popular-writing assignments (e.g., op-ed pieces and position papers) to allow students to relate these issues to their personal and professional lives; and providing graduate students in her “Science and the Public” course with practical experience working through bioethical concerns in conjunction with community groups. To complement and extend topics discussed in her courses, she founded the Choices and Challenges public-humanities forum project in 1985, through which students have gained from the vast store of real-world experience of public audiences.

Zallen has received a Certificate of Teaching Excellence from Virginia Tech, an Innovation Award from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation for her “Science and the Public” course, and an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). In addition, she has received Virginia Tech, state, and national awards for her Choices and Challenges forum project.


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A list of the past winners is available.