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Past Winners of the Teacher of the Week

Richard Walker


The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes Richard Walker, associate professor of Biological Sciences, for consistent and prolonged contributions to teaching, curriculum development, and mentoring that have had an impact on the Department of Biological Sciences and the university.

Dr. Walker uses a top-down approach that takes a complicated topic and breaks it down into packets that students “need-to-know” to truly understand overarching concepts and develop problem-solving skills. Between 1994 and 2008, Walker taught more than 2,000 students in his cell and molecular biology (BIOL 2104) and cell biology (first BIOL 3134, then BIOL 4884) courses. His student evaluations were consistently strong, even in classes that enrolled more than 100 students. Since 2005, Walker has taken a leading role in coordinating cell biology course offerings at the university. As part of this effort, he took responsibility for a key graduate level molecular biology of the cell course (BIOL 5884), and he developed and taught a new undergraduate course in cancer biology. In addition to classroom instruction, Dr. Walker has had 35 undergraduates conduct research in his laboratory and six of these individuals have pursued in Honors degrees. In addition, graduate students earned four M.S. and three Ph.D. degrees under his tutelage.

Walker received the Department of Biological Sciences Teaching Award in 1999, 2005, and 2009, and in 2007, graduating Biological Sciences majors selected him as their “most influential professor.” He received a Certificate of Teaching Excellence as well as the university's Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2011.

“Roughly 15 to 20 percent of his students indicated that he was the best professor they ever had,” said Brenda S.J. Winkel, professor and head of the Department of Biological Sciences. “His success in the classroom can be attributed to his emphasis on current and relevant subject material in the rapidly changing discipline of cell and molecular biology, his strong organizational skills, and the deep concern and respect he has for his students.”

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