The Department of Entomology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has been selected to receive the University-wide Departmental Teaching Award (UDTA) from the University of Nebraska, NU Interim President James Linder, M.D., announced today.
“The Department of Entomology is a model for teaching excellence at the University of Nebraska,” Linder said. “Its faculty are widely known for their student-focused approach, their innovative ideas and their commitment to sharing their knowledge in the community. Our students – and people across Nebraska – are the beneficiaries. Congratulations to the UNL Department of Entomology on this well-deserved honor.”
The UDTA originated in 1993 and is designed to recognize a department or unit within the University of Nebraska that has made unique and significant contributions to the university’s teaching efforts. The honored department is awarded $25,000 to be used in a manner the department sees fit, such as for travel to a conference, instructional equipment or improvements to a classroom or student resource.
UNL’s Department of Entomology is home to 21 faculty and three graduate teaching assistants and serves nearly 400 undergraduate, graduate and professional majors. It has received more than $10 million in teaching grants since 2000. Innovative curricula and community outreach programs within the department create unique opportunities for university students and the general public, keeping the department deeply rooted in the university’s land-grant tradition. For example:
- The department offered the nation’s first completely online Master of Science degree in entomology in 1998. The program, which also was NU’s first online graduate science degree and continues to contribute significantly to the university’s online presence, celebrated its 135th graduate in 2014, and currently enrolls 120 active students. The department also initiated UNL’s first Bachelor of Science major with an online degree completion option.
- All insect science students contribute to campus-based research by completing a senior thesis project – a unique experience given that not all undergraduate students have the opportunity to contribute to campus-based research.
- The department helped create two professional degrees at UNL: a Doctor of Plant Health, which is one of only two nationally, and a joint professional program in veterinary medicine with Iowa State University.
- The department’s science literacy program reaches more than 300,000 people annually, and is conducted by students, entomology staff and faculty. Their efforts educate the general public, not only through publications and presentations, but through interactive community partnerships. The entomology department, Nebraska high schools and Lincoln Children’s Zoo engage youth and families through several educational programs every year.
- The department is an important contributor to the workforce. Entomology and insect science graduates enter distinct careers ranging from military medical entomologists to crime lab technicians to coordinating an insect zoo at a Midwestern university. Graduate students hold leadership roles in major agriculture industries, are academics in national and international universities, and are research scientists in government agencies.
- Students study in labs and in the field, learning how insects relate to human health, and crop and livestock production – important “on-the-ground” experience that will serve them in their careers.
- The department granted UNL’s first master’s degree in 1886.
The department will be honored at a luncheon in Lincoln later this month.