To acknowledge the tremendous efforts of a faculty member who distinguishes himself through the design, content quality and delivery of knowledge, the School of Veterinary Medicine faculty members have given Philip Kass the 2009 School of Veterinary Medicine Faculty Teaching Award.
Kass, a professor of epidemiology and chair of the Department of Population Health and Reproduction, received the award October 6 at the school's annual fall faculty reception.
Though the award is arranged and decided upon by faculty members based on a portfolio of class syllabi and other criteria, student evaluations play a large role in conferring the honor.
Kass' students say that he gives "150%" so that they can achieve excellence. He promotes critical thinking and responsibilities that will help students move up in their careers. Some students describe Kass as the finest instructor they have ever had, a man passionate about education and a professor "as dedicated to our careers as he is to his own."
Kass cites several influences in his teaching career, notably:
• The self-directed learning approach of the British educational system
• The Socratic method and its suitability in teaching epidemiology
• Experience on the school's curriculum review committee, an opportunity to learn new methods of instruction that emphasize critical thinking and technology that helps deliver content effectively
Kass is especially proud of courses in which he prepares students for the best applications of epidemiology and for independent lifelong learning. Kass has taught or led epidemiology, advanced concepts in epidemiology study design, and topics in public health.
As teaching mentor and a collaborator with many colleagues from a wide range of disciplines, Kass has been involved in the design and statistical analysis of dozens of studies. His projects have emphasized companion animal health issues but also touch on other topics in population health. He provided important guidance for the first study on pet overpopulation in Taiwan, for example. He also participated in a study examining health risk factors for homeless women.