Virginia Tech Teacher of the Week
The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes Jennifer Hodgson, associate professor of Population Health Sciences, for her commitment to ensuring that our veterinary graduates are capable of skillfully promoting animal health while protecting human health.
Dr. Hodgson has dramatically changed the focus of veterinary microbiology teaching at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM). The most prominent example of this refocusing can be seen in the course Veterinary Bacteriology and Mycology (VM 8334), which Dr. Hodgson has completely revised and updated. Previously, this course traditionally received poor student evaluations, and student surveys revealed specific concerns regarding the relevance of the course. As part of this comprehensive course revision, Dr. Hodgson developed an entirely new set of student notes (which many students have commented are “better than a textbook”), produced and delivered 42 new lectures, wrote a new laboratory handbook, and completely revised the 36 hours of laboratory instruction. Since these revisions, the course now consistently rates amongst the highest in student and peer evaluations for the Department and College, with average scores of 5.4 out of 6 over the last four years.
Additional evidence of the quality of Dr. Hodgson’s courses and teaching is provided by the four national, university, and college teaching awards she received while in Australia: University of Sydney’s Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2004; Australian Veterinary Association Excellence in Teaching Award in 2004; Grace Mary Mitchell Award for the Outstanding Teacher Award; Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney in 2005; and, the Carrick Award for Australian University Teaching in 2006. In addition, further evidence of her teaching excellence is apparent in the two nominations she has received for the Pfizer Excellence in Teaching Award (2008 and 2010) at the VMRCVM. All of these highly competitive awards are based upon student, peer, and institutional evaluation of teaching effectiveness, and clearly demonstrates both local and national recognition of her teaching accomplishments.
At a more personal level, Dr. Hodgson’s efforts are deeply appreciated by her students, as exemplified by this student’s comments: “I really enjoyed your class, and many of my classmates would agree that the teaching style, format, and testing methods were a breath of fresh air. It was by no means an easy course, but it allowed for logical learning and clinical application that isn't so attainable in some of our other classes. Thank you for putting so much time and care into the class.”