Archived News

Faculty Recognize Distinguished Teachers

October 15, 2010

October 15, 2010

John Pascoe, executive associate dean, announced the recipients of two distinguished teaching awards October 14 to a group of more than 100 faculty members at the annual fall faculty reception.

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The Pfizer Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes continued, distinguished teaching performance within the School of Veterinary Medicine. This award honors teachers who, through their ability, dedication, character and leadership, contribute significantly to professional DVM, MPVM, graduate academic, and graduate clinical instruction.

 The 2010 recipient is Richard W. Nelson, DVM, DACVIM, director of Small Animal Clinical Services at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. He is  a member of the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology. Nelson's specialty is small animal clinical endocrinology, with a focus on diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism and diseases of the adrenal gland in dogs and cats.

Nelson was recognized for excellence in clinical teaching of professional students and training of residents. In his announcement, Pascoe noted, "Students and residents alike appreciate his commitment to their education and consider him a wonderful role model for their professional careers. They appreciate his supportive, nurturing mentorship. His easygoing disposition creates a relaxed learning environment in an otherwise stressful setting." Pascoe added, "Students also comment on Dr. Nelson's ability to simplify complex concepts into readily understandable pieces and provide practical approaches to case management. His residents, who have been consistent winners of research awards, appreciate Dr. Nelson's investment in training them to be leaders, supporting them in their decisions and taking responsibility with them for those decisions."

Nelson is a highly sought-after presenter for continuing professional education, and he has also been at the forefront of discussions on teaching, learning and curricular change in the DVM program.


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The Faculty Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes the outstanding contribution of a faculty member to all of the school's teaching programs: undergraduate, graduate academic, graduate professional, graduate clinical, and professional. This award was initiated in 1992 by the faculty to reinforce the importance of teaching in our professional lives and to recognize those faculty who have made substantial, enduring and creative contributions to teaching and who emulate the level of teaching effectiveness to which each of them aspires.

The recipient of the 2010 Faculty Distinguished Teaching Award is Alan J. Conley, BVSc, MS, PhD. Conley is a professor in the Department of Population Health and Reproduction. He teaches mammalian and avian reproduction in the DVM curriculum and is a member of the Graduate Group in Comparative Pathology. Conley's research emphasizes reproduction in a variety of animals, including cattle, sheep, swine, reptiles and hyenas, particularly their sexual development and differentiation, and the development of reproductive hormones. 

Pascoe described Conley in the following way: "Actively engaged in the professional and graduate academic programs of the School, his exacting academic standards and introspection result in continually striving to improve his teaching. He also strives to excite students in the classroom and research laboratory with his enthusiasm and innate curiosity for the wonder of his discipline and the many questions that remain to be answered. He has succeeded admirably in training a large group of graduate students and received accolades from professional students for the energy and dedication he directs to their learning."

Pascoe also noted Conley's involvement not only in his own course work, but in the overall professional curriculum. "His intellectual contributions to the discussions about the direction of the professional curriculum...are highly appreciated by his peers."

Conley was selected in 2002 as a UC Davis Chancellor's Fellow for Excellence in Research and Teaching in a campuswide program that rewards the accomplishments of early-career faculty members. He has also been recognized by the DVM class of 2009, which chose him for their "Favorite Teacher Award" in 2007.