Michael J. Ellerbrock of Blacksburg, Va., professor of agricultural and applied economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, received the university's 2010 William E. Wine Award.
The William E. Wine Achievement Awards were established in 1957 by the Alumni Association in memory of William E. Wine of the Class of 1904, a former rector of the board of visitors and Alumni Association president. Following a college-level selection process of candidates nominated by students, faculty, and alumni, each college may put forth one nominee. Three faculty members are selected to receive this teaching award by a committee representing all eight colleges at the university. Each Wine Award winner receives $2,000 and automatic induction into the Academy of Teaching Excellence.
Ellerbrock was recognized for his exceptional teaching talent and his ability to inspire students to be engaged in their learning.
Ellerbrock teaches the introductory Economics of the Food and Fiber System courses (microeconomics and macroeconomics), Environment and Sustainable Development Economics, and Religion and Science. Students from practically every Virginia Tech college take these courses, according to Kevin Boyle, professor and head of the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics, "In fact, 60 percent of the students in AAEC 2464 [Religion and Science] are from outside of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Mike’s home college," said Boyle.
According to Kurt Stephenson, professor and undergraduate coordinator for the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Ellerbrock has an uncanny and disarming way of explaining things and connecting with people. "He illustrates complex or abstract economic ideas in accessible, creative ways, for example, explaining the idea of comparative advantage using Tyrod Taylor or diminishing marginal utility using roses on Valentine’s Day."
"Dr. Ellerbrock makes the subjects real, applicable, and therefore interesting. He is generous with his insights and time and in this way encourages participation and the expansion of ideas," cited one of his former students.
Ellerbrock has received numerous teaching awards, including the University Sporn Award for Excellence in Teaching Introductory Subjects, and he has been a member of the Virginia Tech Academy of Teaching Excellence since 1998. In 2002, he received the National Award for Excellence in Teaching Agricultural, Natural Resources, Human and Veterinary Sciences, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
In addition, Ellerbrock is an internationally recognized expert in the teaching of economics and conflict resolution. He directs the Center for Economic Education at Virginia Tech, which is part of the Virginia Council on Economic Education. He is also part of the faculty of the Foundation for Teaching Economics that has offered training for high school teachers in Bulgaria, Hungary, Puerto Rico, Romania, and Slovakia for the past four years.
Ellerbrock earned his bachelor's degree in recreation and parks from Texas A&M University and his master's degree in recreation and park administration and his Ph.D. in applied economics from Clemson University.