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Past Winners of the Teacher of the Week

Theresa Pancotto


The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes Theresa Pancotto, assistant professor of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, for dedication to clinical teaching, emphasizing practical knowledge, and engaging students in the 4th-year veterinary curriculum.

Dr. Pancotto primarily teaches 4th-year veterinary courses. She is an enthusiastic instructor who emphasizes practical knowledge within her classes that can be applied outside specialty institutions. In small groups, Dr. Pancotto has a very down-to-earth approach to teaching. She gives groups some autonomy by allowing them freedom to guide the teaching sessions based on their interests. Dr. Pancotto also engages students by incorporating games (e.g., Jeopardy) as well as focused didactic teaching. Although she has sometimes been perceived as intimidating in the classroom, the neurology clinical rotation, which she primarily runs, is one of the most well-liked clinical rotations for senior students.

Many of Dr. Pancotto’s students have described the positive affect she has had on their learning. Some students have expressed their general appreciation for her dedication to teaching and their positive learning experiences under her tutelage: “Best block ever :)”; “Fantastic teacher! Creates a great environment for students and I can tell she really loves what she does”; “Wonderful Clinician! She really cares about teaching students and was great to work with”; “Dr. Pancotto is really nice and professional. She has a lot of patience when it comes to teaching. I really enjoyed working with her”; “You are a great teacher and we can tell you enjoy teaching. You worked very hard this block and we appreciate your support. . . . Thanks for all your help and teaching”; “She is very approachable and willing to take time to explain things. She really cares about her patients and is very knowledgeable”; “One of the best clinicians I have worked with yet. Great at teaching and not making you feel dumb if you have forgotten a piece of knowledge. Great at rounding and very helpful in helping me interpret MRIs and CTs. Really enjoyed my time working with her!”

Others students have described their appreciation for her practical approach to teaching, in which authentic learning experiences were key: “Terrific job balancing ‘intimidating’ and ‘approachable’ at the same time. I enjoyed the intensity of the rotation when it was busy, as well as the lack of ‘manufactured’ busy work when things slowed down at the end. We still learned, but weren't forced to do a bunch of extraneous work in order to justify our existence on the rotation”; “Rounds were very helpful (including case rounds, which is not always the case on other services). I liked that we were able to ask questions about other people's cases and discuss the relevant topics. We were also permitted to provide some intelligent input on our cases and it felt like we mattered at least a little bit (again, unlike some other rotations). Thanks for all you taught us!”; “[Dr. Pancotto] is very helpful when it comes to managing cases. [She] is very straightforward about what material is relevant to private practitioners and the logical decision making process that is worked into every case.”

Finally, Dr. Pancotto also focuses on engaging students in mastery learning experiences: “Dr. Pancotto always gives us the chance to discuss our findings and then helps us to see how we are wrong instead of just why.”

Dr. Pancotto has completed CIDER’s New Faculty/Early Career Teaching Certificate program.


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