Eight earn Holling Family awards for teaching excellence

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Eight UNL faculty and staff members received the 2011 Holling Family Awards for Teaching Excellence in Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The annual awards honor outstanding teaching in the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

This year's recipients are:

Senior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award: Kathleen Anderson, associate professor in the Department of Animal Science; Scott Hygnstrom, professor in the School of Natural Resources; Ellen Paparozzi, professor in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture; and Brett White, associate professor in the Department of Animal Science.

Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award: Gina Matkin, associate professor, Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication; and Jennifer Wood, assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science and School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Teaching Assistant Teaching Excellence Award: Benjamin Arentson, instructor in the Department of Biochemistry; and Andrew Brueggeman, instructor in the Department of Biochemistry.

Anderson's innovations in adult education programs, multi-media resources and undergraduate courses are recognized nationally as outstanding contributions to education of horse owners of all ages. She was the leader in the development of eXtension's HorseQuest, at http://www.extension.org, which offers free, interactive, peer-reviewed online resources on a variety of equine-related topics. In addition, her Horsin Around program, which features industry issues, is a hallmark innovation in adult education. After graduating from high school in Papillion, Anderson received her bachelor's degree from UNL, her master's degree from Texas A&M and her doctorate from Kansas State University.

Hygnstrom initiated the development of a teaching program focused on wildlife damage management in 1988. The program's goal is to train biologists so they can work with people to solve conflicts between humans and wildlife. His teaching is intertwined with research and UNL Extension activities to create experiential learning activities for students. Raised in Maiden Rock, Wis., he received his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, his master's degree from the UW-Stevens Point and his doctorate from UW-Madison.

Paparozzi was instrumental in building a nationally recognized undergraduate program in the science and art of horticulture at UNL. Now ranked in the top 15 programs in the U.S., the program focuses on training Nebraska students to be tomorrow's horticulture business leaders. Raised in Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., Paparozzi received her bachelor's degree from Rutgers University and her master's and doctoral degrees from Cornell University.

White provides leadership in the undergraduate reproductive physiology teaching program, teaching ASCI 341, Physiology and Management of Reproduction, and ASCI 441, New Techniques in Reproductive Biology. Since 2003, enrollment in ASCI 341 has grown by 103 percent. In addition, the student population in animal science has shifted to be increasingly urban with increased interest in companion animals and horses. White's examples and laboratories use companion animals and horses as well as large animals to accommodate this. White's hometown is Hershey. He received his bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from Illinois University.

Matkin teaches a special section of ALEC 102: Interpersonal Skills for Leadership for the William H. Thompson Learning Community. These students are recipients of the Susan T. Buffett Scholarship with the main criteria being financial need and academic promise. After learning more about the program and the unique needs of the students, Matkin modified the course to address these needs. Providing information, experiences and support to first-year students in the program helped them to succeed not only academically and personally but to make the transition from small towns and/or schools to a large university setting. Matkin is from Ironton, Mo. She received her bachelor's degree from Southeast Missouri State, her master's degree from Iowa State and her doctorate from UNL.

Wood used innovative teaching methods to develop and coordinate a series of physiology courses which are part of the veterinary medicine curriculum. Wood identified "hot topics" for each lecture period to introduce students to current veterinary and biomedical literature. She also asks a "question of the week" that presents students with a problem to solve using information and facts presented in class. She uses web laboratories to provide a systems-based approach to understand important concepts of different physiological systems. A native of Ligonier, Ind., Wood received her bachelor's degree from Indiana University and her master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Illinois.

Arentson approaches his Biochemistry 433/833 laboratory course in a dedicated and enthusiastic manner by creating Power Point slides to explain lab exercises that captivate students' attention. He knows what to emphasize and how to explain difficult concepts. He is available outside lab to assist students when conducting challenging lab periods. Arentson was raised in Harlan, Iowa, and received his bachelor's degree from Buena Vista University in Spirit Lake, Iowa. He is pursuing his doctorate at UNL.

Brueggeman is able to teach complex subjects in a manner that students can follow easily and retain well. In providing leadership for Biochemistry 321L, Lab: Elements of Biochemistry, he prepared pre-lab presentations, piloted exercises to assure success in the lab setting and promoted an energizing environment in the lab and online section of the course. Hull, Ill., is Brueggeman's hometown. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri and is pursuing his doctorate at UNL.

The Holling program was made possible by a gift from the Holling family to honor their pioneer parents. John Holling was a 1912 electrical engineering graduate of the University of Nebraska; and his brother, Gustave Holling, attended the College of Agriculture before farming the family's land in the Wood River area.

- Sandi Alswager Karstens, IANR News Service