Earlier this year, David Schmale, associate professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science, was selected Teacher of the Week by the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER).
Schmale is credited with engaging, educating, and training the next generation of scientists and engineers in agriculture and life sciences. His teaching philosophy is simple: make it relevant, make it interesting, and make it memorable.
Students live in a wireless world where online entertainment is just a click away. Computers, iPods, and smartphones provide a real-time connection to this online world, and Schmale teaches by bringing this world into the classroom. His lectures incorporate YouTube movies, news reports, music, GoogleEarth and Facebook. He strives to bring his lab into the classroom, exciting and engaging students through the research that defines him as a scientist. Students may take virtual rides on one of his unmanned aerial vehicles. They get their hands on living cultures of pathogens that cause devastating plant diseases. Small groups of students grow edible varieties of mushrooms at home.
“These experiences serve as important examples of research opportunities at Virginia Tech and direct students to employment opportunities in agriculture and human health,” said Peter Doolittle, CIDER director.
The Teacher of the Week program recognizes effective, engaged, and dynamic teachers. For more information, visit www.cider.vt.edu.