March 15, 2017
Lincoln, Neb. —The Holling Family Awards for Teaching Excellence were presented to six teaching assistants and faculty members on Tuesday at the Nebraska East Union. The annual awards honor outstanding teaching in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
This year’s recipients are:
Senior Faculty Teaching Excellence Awards: Dennis Ferraro, professor of practice in the School of Natural Resources; Roger Hoy, professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering; and Larkin Powell, professor in the School of Natural Resources.
Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Awards: Jenny Dauer, assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources; and Leah Sandall, assistant professor of practice in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture.
Teaching Assistant Teaching Excellence Award: Baymond Adams, teaching assistant in the School of Natural Resources.
Ferraro is regarded by his students for his ability to apply what he teaches to the real world and for his enjoyable and engaging classroom environment. He provides opportunities for hands-on and interactive learning, which allows students to experience classroom concepts first-hand. Ferraro’s annual tropical ecosystems field trip to Puerto Rico provides students with a transformational learning experience.
Hoy has served as a professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and director of the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory for over a decade. At any point in time, Hoy employs 30-35 undergraduate students from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and the College of Engineering. Besides providing students with structured opportunities to apply classroom knowledge to real- world problems, Hoy develops strong mentoring relationships with his students, which in many cases continue beyond graduation.
Powell’s students appreciate his great attitude in the classroom and the patience with which he works with each student. His ability to engage students with course material while also creating a fun classroom atmosphere makes him one of the most highly regarded professors in the School of Natural Resources. Powell has innovatively structured the natural resources study tour to merge scientific investigation and experience with the application of ecology and wildlife conversation in a unique part of the world.
Dauer has been the dominant force behind developing the Science and Decision Making for a Complex World course. The course builds a science-informed foundation that challenges students to create their own decision-making matrix. Dauer serves as the coordinator for the team of instructors and learning assistance reaching over 400 students through four sections. Providing her carefully crafted materials and active learning methods as a base, Dauer offers both structure and freedom, empowering others to take a personal approach.
Sandall serves as the distance education director with the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture. She uses the full scope of teaching and engagement that is possible for the online learner. Sandall’s online learning environment design blends video, animation, visuals, presentation, reading and instant feedback quizzing to keep the learner in an active role, underpinned by the learning outcomes.
Adams has served as a teaching assistant for introductory ecology for the past five semesters, working closely with Professor Leon Higley. He has been instrumental in the creation of informal, out-of-class sessions aimed at helping students grasp class concepts, as well as giving them an opportunity to discuss broader applications and implications of science.
The Holling Family award program for teaching excellence was made possible by a gift from the Holling family to honor their pioneer parents. John Holling was a 1912 electrical engineering graduate of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and his brother, Gustave Holling, attended the College of Agriculture before farming the family’s land in the Wood River Area.
Writer: Haley Steinkuhler - IANR Media