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Past Winners of the Teacher of the Week

Dana Hawley

   

The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes Dana Hawley, associate professor of Biological Sciences, for her dedication to designing instruction that leads students to take ownership of the material and gain a much deeper understanding of the ways in which seemingly unconnected facts and concepts fit together.

Dr. Hawley teaches upper level courses in Infectious Disease Ecology and Ornithology, as well as a graduate course in Scientific Outreach. Dr. Hawley aims to engage students in the subject matter by using active learning techniques, peer education, and the "show-and-tell" strategy to drive home key concepts. In her course design, Dr. Hawley heavily incorporates service learning and outreach opportunities in order to provide real world context and engagement with the subject matter. Rather than focusing on rote memorization of facts, Dr. Hawley aims for her students to come away with key biological concepts and skills that can be applied in creative and novel contexts.

It is clear that Dr. Hawley’s learning strategies are effective. One student commented, “Dr. Hawley has a great passion for ornithology and always finds brilliant ways to transmit the information.”

Hawley is the recipient of a departmental teaching award in 2012 and a College of Science Certificate of Teaching Excellence in 2013. She is also actively engaged in research and maintains a top-notch research program with a total of more than $7 million in funding (almost $3 million as PI) in which she mentors a large group of graduate and undergraduate researchers.

Dr. Hawley’s research integrates diverse subdisciplines including disease ecology, behavioral ecology, molecular evolution, population and community ecology, and immunology. She hopes “to attract students who have equally broad interests, the persistence to bridge disparate fields, and a strong foundation in the theory and practice of ecology and evolutionary biology.”

Brenda Winkel, Department Head of Biological Sciences, noted “Dr. Hawley joined our faculty in the spring of 2007 and has been a strong advocate and practitioner of student-centered education in the classroom and service learning outside of the classroom from day one.”

Dr. Hawley not only prepares students to work in the field of Biological Sciences, but she is also inspiring students through her approach to instruction. One student stated that Dr. Hawley should be recognized for “encouraging students to become teachers themselves.”

Homepage: http://www.biol.vt.edu/faculty/hawley/index.html





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