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Past Winners of the Teacher of the Week

Elizabeth Gilbert

   

The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes Elizabeth Gilbert, assistant professor of Animal and Poultry Sciences, for helping students realize their potential, giving them the resources to succeed, using her passion for teaching as a means to stimulate interest in learning, and letting her students know how much she cares.

Within her department, Dr. Gilbert teaches a variety of courses including Animal Nutrition and Feeding (ALS 3204) and Obesity in Birds and Mammals (APSC 4004), with her class size ranging from 55 to less than twenty. Regardless of the class content or size, Dr. Gilbert is always “...very clear about what she want(s) … for every assignment.”

In the classroom, Dr. Gilbert’s teaching philosophy is based on several uniting principles: to present complex concepts in a simple manner that is easily understood, to stimulate interest by showing relevance and enthusiasm, to use visual tools and cues to spark curiosity and enhance learning, to encourage student participation, and most importantly, to show how much she cares about her students' success. An active learning environment is the key to laying a strong foundation for intellectual development and acquiring useful skill sets. Her teaching and learning assessment styles discourage rote memorization and instead force students to integrate concepts, show connectivity, and think critically. An example is the final exam from her nutrition class last year, where she asked students to diagram carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism in the liver of a lactating dairy cow, with extra points awarded for showing connectivity between pathways. As one student said, “I believe that the diagrams were a big aspect of learning the material.”

As a researcher, she is able to effectively integrate her research in adipose biology into this teaching experience and frequently uses her research papers and results as examples in both her nutrition course and the obesity in birds and mammals recitation section. In summary, Dr. Gilbert’s teaching is based on dedication to her students, passion for the subject matter and teaching, and using creative strategies to facilitate an active and effective learning environment.

In January of 2105, Dr. Gilbert received a "Thank a Teacher Note" from her grateful students. To sum up Dr. Gilbert in the words of a former student, “She is a great teacher and I always felt comfortable asking her for anything.”

Homepage: http://www.apsc.vt.edu/people/biographies/faculty/gilbert/gilbert_bio.html





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