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 Shannon Pratt-Phillips, an associate professor in the Department of Animal Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Pratt-Phillips is one of seven professors being recognized as Alumni Association Outstanding Teachers.
What prompted you to become a professor? I became a professor because I loved my own university experience, and I wanted to give other students the same opportunities to learn to love education, and to learn how to reach their goals. I also wanted to have an impact on horse health in terms of nutrition, both directly (through conducting research in this area), and indirectly (through my students – future veterinarians, equine facility operators, current or future horse owners).
What are the keys to being a successful teacher/professor? I think students get excited about a topic – and therefore learn it better – if you (as the instructor) are excited and passionate about it. I try to have a balance between my own life (and horse ownership) experiences and practical, factual information. I try to show lots of videos, keep students updated with current events in the industry, and show how the information we discuss is relevant and useful for them (even if they’ll never own or touch a horse!)
What gives you the greatest satisfaction as a professor? I think knowing students are actually excited to come to my class is a nice feeling. Of course, seeing the students graduate, go on to graduate or veterinary school, or have careers in the industry is always very rewarding. I love hearing from students long after the course is over!