The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has named Jennifer Hodgson, associate dean for professional programs and professor of population health sciences in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, as the recipient of the 2017 AAVMC Distinguished Teacher Award, presented by Zoetis.

The award, which is considered one of the most prestigious teaching awards in international academic veterinary medicine, recognizes excellence in professional veterinary medical education and is presented to an educator whose sustained record of teaching excellence and ability, dedication, character, and leadership has contributed significantly to the advancement of the profession.

Hodgson will formally receive the award during the association's 2018 Annual Conference and Assembly held in Washington, D.C., on March 2-4.

“This prestigious award represents an outstanding achievement that is absolutely well deserved,” said Gregory B. Daniel, interim dean of the college. “Dr. Hodgson is an accomplished educator and leader in the advancement of veterinary medical education nationally and internationally. We are proud of Dr. Hodgson’s accomplishment and are grateful for the recognition she brings to the college and Virginia Tech.”

Hodgson teaches bacteriology and mycology and oversees the curriculum and administration of the college's doctor of veterinary medicine professional program. Under her leadership, the college developed a new curriculum, with implementation that began in August 2016, that integrates the basic and clinical sciences into new courses based on function, incorporates team-based learning in all first- and second-year courses, and allows for early entry into the clinical learning environment after the second year.

Colleagues and students praise her an effective and caring teacher who can put theory into practice and cultivate students’ critical thinking skills.

“Dr. Hodgson’s demonstrated success in bridging theory and practice, her adaptation of theory in support of developing new ways to advance educational programs, and her commitment to communicate these experiences with peers nationally and internationally distinguish her from most of her peers,” wrote Cyril Clarke, interim executive vice president and provost at Virginia Tech and recent dean of the veterinary college, in a nomination letter.

Hodgson is also a co-editor and co-author on the first textbook specifically about veterinary medical education, titled “Veterinary Medical Education: A Practical Guide,” published last March by Wiley Blackwell. The textbook offers a comprehensive resource for veterinary medical educators across the globe and takes a practical, real-world approach for teaching veterinary skills and knowledge.

“I am deeply honored by this recognition. I have a great love of working with students,” said Hodgson, “and a real interest in ensuring the veterinary curriculum prepares them for the opportunities and challenges of 21st-century veterinary medicine.”

Hodgson earned her bachelor of veterinary science degree from the University of Sydney in Australia and her doctorate from Washington State University. She is a Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Microbiology, a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and is currently co-chairing the AAVMC’s working group on Competency-Based Veterinary Education. Prior to joining Virginia Tech in 2006, she was the associate dean of learning and teaching in the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Veterinary Science.

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