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Two Veterinary faculty members receive National Teacher of the Year Awards


BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 8, 2006 – Two Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) faculty members were honored for excellence in teaching in veterinary medicine during the recent meeting of the American Veterinary Medical Association in Honolulu.

Dr. Marion Ehrich, professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology was presented the 2006 Student American Veterinary Medical Association Teaching Excellence Award in Basic Science; and Dr. Kevin Pelzer, associate professor and section chief of the Production Management Medicine Field Services Unit, was honored with the 2006 Student American Veterinary Medical Association Teaching Excellence Award in Clinical Science.

“I think this makes a very powerful statement about the quality of our teaching,” said Gerhardt Schurig, Dean of Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in recognizing their accomplishments. She noted that Dr. Scott Pleasant, a professor in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, won the award last year.

The national honorees are selected on the basis of nominations presented by students at each of the nation’s 28 colleges of veterinary medicine.

The basic sciences award recognizes excellence, innovation, and enthusiasm in the field of basic veterinary science and education.

Ehrich, who has taught at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine since 1980, teaches pharmacology and toxicology to veterinary and graduate students, and provides service in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital Pharmacy and in the Toxicology Diagnostic Laboratory.

“To be nominated and to receive a national award for teaching is incredible,” she said. “Every student I have ever taught, and I have taught all Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine graduates, owns a piece of this award.”

Ehrich earned her bachelor’s from South Dakota State University, a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut.

Ehcrich has served as president of the Society of Toxicology and as treasurer of the American Board of Toxicology. She was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences in 1999. She plays a major role with several academic journals and societies and also serves on the prestigious National Research Council’s Committee on Toxicology.

Her primary research interests are associated with the comparative neurotoxicities of antiesterase pesticides, with both in vivo and in vitro models used for study.

The clinical sciences award recognizes excellence, innovation, and enthusiasm in the field of clinical veterinary science and education.

Pelzer earned his doctorate from Tuskegee University, worked in private practice, and then studied at the University of California at Davis, where he conducted a residency in Food Animal Reproduction and Herd Health and earned his master’s degree. Pelzer earned board certification in preventive medicine by the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.

After working at Iowa State University, he joined the college in 1987, where he teaches and serves as a clinician in the Production Management Medicine section. He has served as a faculty advisor for Student Chapter of American Veterinary Medical Association since 1991, and his academic interests are in public health and food animal medicine.

“Good teaching requires a willingness to share one’s experiences and knowledge, an ability to present information in a practical and understandable manner, and a sincere interest in the student and his or her success, not only in that particular class, but also in life,” he wrote in summarizing his teaching philosophy.

Pelzer has been active in continuing education and outreach, giving more than 100 presentations to both professional and lay groups in Virginia, throughout the United States, and in other countries.

The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) is a two-state, three-campus professional school operated by the land-grant universities of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and the University of Maryland at College Park. Its flagship facilities, based at Virginia Tech, include the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which treats more than 40,000 animals annually. Other campuses include the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., and the Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Center at College Park, home of the Center for Government and Corporate Veterinary Medicine. The VMRCVM annually enrolls approximately 500 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and graduate students, is a leading biomedical and clinical research center, and provides professional continuing education services for veterinarians practicing throughout the two states. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.