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Past Winners of the Teacher of the Week

Kaja Abbas


The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes Kaja Abbas, assistant professor of Population Health Sciences, for promoting critical thinking among his students, and encouraging his students to communicate their ideas and perspectives clearly to peers and others of diverse backgrounds.

In addition to his primary appointment, Dr. Abbas also has secondary appointments in the Department of Basic Sciences at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, and in the Faculty of Health Sciences. He teaches courses in Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Modeling Infectious Diseases, and organizes the Public Health Seminars in the Public Health Program at Virginia Tech. Prior to his appointment at Virginia Tech, Dr. Abbas taught computer science and biology programs at the University of North Texas. As well as his educational and research training in interdisciplinary settings, the variety of course teaching experience has prepared Dr. Abbas for a wide-range of learners from a diverse set of disciplines.

Within his various classes, Dr. Abbas maintains a pedagogical philosophy of a student-centered, teacher-mentored classroom. Proactive discussions are encouraged to increase learning and critical thinking, and the students’ performances are evaluated through class assignments focused on epidemiologic methods, case studies, online discussion forum, systematic review and a research project of the students’ choice. The structure of Dr. Abbas’s courses is designed to not only develop students’ competencies in public health, but also improve their professional skills in communication, administration, management and leadership.

As an assistant professor at Virginia Tech, Dr. Abbas finished CIDER's early career teaching certificate in 2013.


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Teacher of the Week

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A list of the past winners is available.