GW honors biology professor with award

GW biology professor Terry Hufford was honored in a ceremony last Friday where he received the Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Teaching Award.

It was very nice to know that students recognized what I do in the classroom, said Hufford, who has been teaching at GW for 28 years. (The award) tells me that I have been doing my job.

The award, given only once a year, is based on nominations from students. Nominations are received in the Academic Affairs office, said Craig Linebaugh, associate vice president for Academic Planning and Special Projects.

A committee collects information from the faculty members’ departments, looking at past student evaluations and letters of recommendation, and talking to other members of the department, Linebaugh said.

At the ceremony, President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and Donald Lehman, vice president for Academic Affairs, gave remarks, followed by a short lecture by Hufford.

Entitled The Missing Link, Hufford spoke about his views on teaching, particularly teaching science at the university level.

Hufford said in his lecture that he sees a number of problems at GW, including computer technology on campus and the lack of small classrooms.

Professors need to get to know their students, especially by making more time for them and increasing their availability through e-mail, he said.

Hufford stressed the importance of the student, particularly undergraduates, throughout his lecture.

Professors are expected to do many things – outside research and publishing included – and it takes away from the student, he said. We, as professors, need to make sure that we are paying enough attention to undergraduates, they should be a priority.

Hufford also discussed emerging technology.

Computers should not, and cannot, replace teachers, said Hufford. A computer cannot see the students’ eyes when they begin to glaze over. It cannot see when a student is not feeling well that day and can’t know about a student’s personal problem.

In addition to the ceremony held on Friday, the recipient will also be recognized at Commencement, said Linebaugh.

It was a great deal of surprise for me, Hufford said.

The award was created by Trachtenberg to honor his parents.

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