Rebecca K. Splan, of Catawba, Va., was awarded the 2009 Certificate of Teaching Excellence from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech.

Splan, an associate professor of animal and poultry sciences, is recognized by her colleagues for her commitment to the equine sciences program. “She has created new courses, developed a study-abroad program that provides students with unique opportunities to interact with world-class horses and equine professionals, and has individualized learning opportunities to meet the needs of the diverse students that she serves,” said Ron Lewis, associate professor of animal and poultry sciences.

Splan has built an outstanding, elite equine program at Virginia Tech, “which provides scientific and practical training to the students and prepares them for high-level careers in the equine industry,” wrote Ekkehard Brysch, president and CEO of the International Sporthorse Registry – Oldenburg Registry North America. “Dr. Splan has centered the curriculum on the sporthorse, not only because it is her passion, but because she understands well that it is essential to educate students with a global perspective in equine science.”

An inspiring instructor, Splan is recognized for her engaging teaching style. She consistently receives outstanding teaching evaluations and has attracted an ever-increasing enrollment.

Students also benefit from Splan’s expertise outside of the classroom through her mentoring and advising roles. Splan serves as the faculty advisor for 40 undergraduates and two graduate students and has supervised 40 student internships, field studies, and independent-study projects. She has also mentored several undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants. Splan has also coached, advised, and championed several student groups, including the Virginia Tech Horse Judging Team, the Virginia Tech Sporthorse Breeders, and the Block and Bridle Club, to name only a few.

“Dr. Splan’s engagement in our teaching and advising program is exemplary by its breadth and inventiveness, and has had a tremendously positive and far-reaching impact on our students,” said Lewis.

Splan received her bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and her master’s degree and Ph.D. in animal breeding and genetics from the University of Nebraska.

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