2012 Faculty Awards: Q&A with Don Thrall

April 28, 2012
By Bill Krueger

The Alumni Association will honor 21 NC State professors on May 3 for their outstanding work in the classroom, in the laboratory and in the field. We talked (via email) with some of the recipients about their work and the keys to being a successful professor.

Today we’re visiting with Don Thrall, a professor in the Department of Molecular Biomedical Science in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Thrall is one of three professors being recognized with Outstanding Extension and Outreach Awards.

faculty-thrallWhat is the key to being a successful teacher? There are certainly others who are more adept at teaching than I, but I think patience and flexibility are important attributes. Many times helping someone become proficient requires reviewing the same point or concept on multiple occasions. Using different scenarios or examples to emphasize the same point has also been an effective method for me.

What gives you the greatest satisfaction as a professor? No question, the success of those you have helped instruct. It isn’t one’s personal advances but the advances, and the maturation of thinking and analytical skills, in your students that gives extreme satisfaction.

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