Eleanor Schlenker honored with emerita status
Eleanor Schlenker, professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of “professor emerita” by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
The title of emeritus may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board of visitors by Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board of visitors receive an emeritus certificate from the university.
A member of the Virginia Tech community for 19 years beginning in 1988, Schlenker made significant contributions to the understanding of nutrition.
The third edition of her textbook, Nutrition and Aging, was published translated into Spanish for South American students. She has been the co-author three editions of Williams Essentials of Nutrition and Diet Therapy, a textbook for degree-seeking nursing students.
Schlenker served as an editorial board member for the Journal of Nutrition in Gerontology and Geriatrics and was the first editor of the quarterly Extension publication, Living Well, recognized for excellence by the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.
She was active in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) and held positions on the Council on Practice, the Committee on Health Care Reform and renewal of the Older Americans Act, the Review Committee for Position Papers, and was a liaison to the National Council on the Aging, the National Voluntary Organizations for Independent Living for the Elderly; and served as chair of the Gerontological Nutrition Section.
For 10 years, from 1988 to 1998, Schlenker was head of the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise. During that time, she led the accreditation of the undergraduate dietetics program and dietetic internship; facilitated the merger of the Department of Human Nutrition and Foods and the exercise science program; and managed a 10-year growth in undergraduate enrollment from less than 100 students to nearly 500 students.
In the classroom, she taught undergraduate and graduate courses on Nutrition Across the Lifespan, Community Nutrition, Nutrition and Aging, and an undergraduate seminar. She emphasized professional standards and student learning as applied to realistic professional situations.
Within Virginia Cooperative Extension, she implemented a community- and church-based diabetes education program with rigorous standards of evaluation that attracted more than $2 million in funding from the Obici HealthCare Foundation, Virginia Department of Health, and the National Institutes of Health.
Schlenker received her bachelor’s degree from Albright College, a master’s degree from Drexel University, and a doctoral degree from Michigan State University.
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.