Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2013

Faculty Award winner

Graham Worthy

 College of Sciences


During my 22 years in academia, I've tried to excel at teaching, research, and service. I love interacting with students and mentoring them to achieve more than they realize they're capable of. As an undergraduate student, I was known to walk out of a lecture if l didn't think I was going to get something out of it. I've always expected my students to be equally demanding of me. My teaching philosophy centers on three values: development of effective learning in students; continual revision of the course; and emphasis on relevance to the world beyond the classroom.

An understanding of STEM disciplines is critical and must start early. I maintain active involvement with elementary-school programs, engage high-school students through internships, and include undergraduate students in my research. During the past three years, I've mentored 16 undergraduate students and published and/or submitted 14 peer-reviewed articles and presented 13 presentations with student authors.

I utilize a multimedia approach to incorporate lab materials into my courses without labs. This approach includes hands-on experience examining mammalian skulls and other physiology demonstrations. A colleague and I recently received funds to develop a new interactive physiology lab that will allow students to design and run an experiment during a "lecture" period to investigate effects of environmental stimuli on live fishes, in real time. I incorporate photos, vid-eos, animations, sound clips, and personal experiences into my lectures, update lectures with the most recent publications, and draw lecture materials from multiple sources to better cover my curriculum.

I have an open-door policy for my students and regularly have review sessions with individuals or small groups. I know my student's names and am sensitive to their needs and experiences. I'm active in advising students and have helped them to obtain internships, jobs, and graduate positions through my professional connections.

Ultimately, learners must want to pull information toward themselves rather than having it pushed on them. This type of learning encourages students to explore, question, and experiment; I strive to create that environment in my classes. Hopefully no student will ever feel compelled to walk out of my lecture.