Frank Gwazdauskas recognized for teaching excellence in Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Frank Gwazdauskas of Blacksburg, Va., the David R. and Margaret Lincicome Professor in the Department of Dairy Science, was awarded the 2010 Certificate of Teaching Excellence from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech.
Gwazdauskas has long been recognized as an outstanding teacher, but until the past few years his primary focus was graduate training, teaching graduate physiology, and running an active, successful research program. Recently, he expanded his undergraduate teaching responsibilities to include an intensive animal physiology and anatomy course in addition to his graduate physiology course and his popular, online Animals in Society course.
“With changes in the department and retirements, he has taken on more courses and larger courses and yet has achieved excellent student ratings and accolades,” said Michael McGilliard, professor of dairy science. “With his Internet course, Animals in Society, Dr. Gwazdauskas has doubled the course size by attracting students from multiple disciplines and keeps their interest throughout each semester with multiple modules, assignments, interactive discussion threads, and innovative online field trips.”
Gwazdauskas believes that personal interaction with his students is one of the most important aspects of his teaching. “Being familiar with students is critical to development of rapport. I make every effort to get to know their names, even in classes over 70, by taking photos in the first lab sessions,” he said. “As I matured as an educator, I began to realize that much of the influence I have on students is outside the classroom. Facts and figures are a necessary part of every student’s education; however, I believe that education is mostly about setting examples and providing motivation.”
During his career, Gwazdauskas has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Gamma Sigma Delta Research Award of Merit, Virginia Tech Alumni Research Award, American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) Fellow, and the Pharmacia and Upjohn Physiology Award from ADSA. He has chaired 35 graduate committees, advised 28 undergraduates, and supervised dozens of undergraduate research studies. He is a facilitator for first-year medical students at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and assisted in the development of Block III curriculum for first-year students.
Gwazdauskas earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and both his master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Florida. He began his career at Virginia Tech as an assistant professor in 1974. Gwazdauskas has published 155 journal articles and 170 abstracts.