BLACKSBURG, Va., May 21, 2012 – Megan Arnold hates bugs. She’s even scared of the tiny ones.
Yet, the Virginia Tech graduate loved Associate Professor Carlyle Brewster’s entomology class. She even sent him an email saying he was one of the best teachers she ever had.
“You not only make students enjoy learning, but you also make them look forward to coming to lectures! That is a hard task to accomplish,” she wrote. “So, thank you.”
Brewster was presented with a Certificate of Teaching Excellence award during the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences commencement services on May 12, 2012.
Brewster joined the Department of Entomology in 1999 and has been a consistent contributor to the teaching programs in the department within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences ever since. Students say his well-organized lectures allow them to easily process the complex subject matter.
“This was especially helpful during sections of his classes that involved quantitative analyses,” said Ksenia Onufrieva, a research scientist in entomology at Virginia Tech. “His knowledge, dedication, and great personality help students succeed and overcome difficulties associated with graduate studies.”
Brewster also played a major role in the life of K. Lane Tabor Kreitlow, a former Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech.
“I remember when we conducted our first field experiment together. I was insecure and intimidated since it was a new area of research for me. Sensing my apprehension, he calmly picked up a rock, handed it to me and said, ‘Hold on to this until you graduate. It represents your conviction and how far you will have come four years from now’,” Kreitlow said.
“Dr. Brewster is the embodiment of excellence in teaching and truly deserves to be recognized with this award,” said Kreitlow, now adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Entomology at North Carolina State University.
Brewster promotes an “ecological approach” to learning.
“The ecological approach emphasizes learning as a student-centered, dynamic, and interactive process with observation and observation-in-action as key concepts,” Brewster said. The approach also recognizes that learning improves with practice and feedback.
Brewster has also been an instructor at the Center for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching’s 2009 workshop; an instructor in three instructional technology workshops on integrating tools into classroom instruction and Web page development for faculty at four minority institutions; a pest management workshop instructor at the University of Ghana, Legon Biotechnology Centre; and a faculty advisor for the Caribbean Students Organization since 1999.
Nationally ranked among the top research institutions of its kind, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences focuses on the science and business of living systems through learning, discovery, and engagement. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives more than 3,100 students in a dozen academic departments a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. Students learn from the world’s leading agricultural scientists, who bring the latest science and technology into the classroom.