2013 Faculty Awards: Q&A with Miles Engell

April 25, 2013
By Bill Krueger

The Alumni Association is honoring 21 NC State professors with the 2013 Faculty Awards 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 Miles Engell, a teaching assistant professor of biology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Engell, who earned a PhD in zoology at NC State in 2003, is one of seven professors being recognized as Alumni Association Outstanding Teachers.

milesengellWhat prompted you to become a professor? I started out teaching high school biology only when my former high school principal begged me to come teach for a couple of years. Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed it, and found my favorite class to be the AP class. Meanwhile, though I loved teaching, I also knew I wanted to return to school for a graduate degree in animal behavior… so, it naturally followed that I’d move up to teaching college afterwards. I haven’t regretted it!

What are the keys to being a successful teacher/professor? Enthusiasm for your subject, concern for your students both as learners and as individuals, and willingness to devote time and energy to keeping your teaching “fresh,” relevant and interesting! Organization and a sense of humor help, too.

What gives you the greatest satisfaction as a professor? Knowing I’ve impacted students’ lives in a positive way by encouraging them to think, question and challenge themselves. It’s incredibly rewarding to hear that I’ve opened a mind to a new idea or perspective, since that, of course, is learning — and something we should all do, all of our lives.

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