MSU’s Elizabeth Karcher honored with national teaching award

Dr. Elizabeth Karcher, academic specialist in the Department of Animal Sciences at Michigan State University (MSU), recently started her teaching career, but her outstanding efforts are already being recognized by professionals across the nation.

July 17, 2014

Dr. Elizabeth Karcher, academic specialist in the Department of Animal Sciences at Michigan State University (MSU), recently started her teaching career, but her outstanding efforts are already being recognized by professionals across the nation.

 

The North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA), an organization devoted to advancing the scholarship of teaching in agriscience, awarded Karcher the Teacher Fellow Award. Karcher received the award at the 60th anniversary of the NACTA conference, held in Bozeman, Montana, June 25-28.

 

“Receiving this award is truly an honor,” Karcher said. “Working with students is not just a job for me. As I engage in teaching workshops and learning opportunities, it has quickly become a passion.”

 

The Teacher Fellow Award is given to an entry-level faculty member whose efforts represent exceptional teaching ability in agricultural secondary education. Faculty members must be nominated by one of their peers. The entire NACTA committee reviews each nomination, scoring each nominee on criteria including the teacher’s availability to students, the teacher’s ability to engage students in stimulating or attractive activities, and the teacher’s ability to integrate innovation into his/her teaching methods.

 

“I strive to increase the number of experiential learning opportunities within the classroom,” Karcher said. “Not every course I teach has a lab section, so hands-on activities within the 50-minute lecture give students a chance to directly apply concepts we have discussed.”

 

One central aspect of the NACTA conference is to encourage educators to share with other professionals their methods of achieving excellence.

 

“I want my students to understand why I am teaching their course as well as why I am passionate about them learning the subject,” Karcher said. “Students understand that I have an open-door policy. I want to build a relationship that allows students to communicate with me both in and out of the classroom. This open communication builds trust and enhances the learning environment. I value every opportunity I have to guide students and impact their education.”

 

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