VetMed professor honored for excellence

Pomona, Calif. - 12/16/2003 -- Dr. S. Dru Forrester of the College of Veterinary Medicine has been chosen as the 2003 recipient of the National Carl Norden/Pfizer Distinguished Teacher Award. This selection, made by a committee of her peers, designates her as the outstanding veterinary medical educator of the year in the United States. Forrester, who had been honored as teacher of the year several times while at Virginia Tech's Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, said she was surprised, shocked and thrilled all at once to receive the national honor.

"It's very exciting," said Forrester, who joined the college in April 2003 as a professor of small animal medicine. "When you look at the fact you're up against professors from all the veterinary colleges in the country and that some of my favorite teachers have won in the past, it's nice to be in that group of people."

Dr. Forrester will receive her prize at the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges' annual meeting in Washington, D.C. in March. A committee based its selection of Dr. Forrester on her teaching philosophy, example of classes she teaches and endorsements from students and administrators. Dr. Forrester says she tries to put herself in the students' position when thinking about teaching, drawing on her own experience as a student. She strives to pass on information and skills she knows her students will need once they are practicing -- without putting them to sleep.

"I like to present students with a minimum of extraneous information and instead focus on showing them how to apply the information they have already learned or are continuing to learn," she says. "I believe that students are more likely to learn from using the information they have learned rather than trying to remember facts for examinations."

Many of Dr. Forrester's students said they appreciate her teaching style as well as her approachability and sense of humor and are not at all surprised she earned such a prestigious honor.

"Dr. Forrester has a tremendous ability to provide enough guidance to students to direct their learning but does not provide 'the answer' per se and this keeps the students motivated to explore and discover the ideas on their own," said Megan Templeton, DVM '07.

Avery Woodworth said she has had the opportunity to work with Dr. Forrester in a small group setting and is looking forward to working with her in the future.

"She has a remarkable ability to engage students in a discussion in which they are both enlightened by her immense knowledge and feel confident about sharing their own knowledge. Never does she give the student a sense of inadequacy or incompetence," Woodworth said. "Her sense of humor livens up conversation and helps portray the sense of enjoyment and ease she feels in teaching."

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