NACURH Winner
Month: July 2018

NACURH, INC.

Institution Faculty/Staff of the Month

School: University of Virginia at Wise Region: SAACURH
Nominee: Josephine Rodriguez Nominator: Harley Hess

On-Campus Population: 600 Chapter Size: 20

Please explain the outstanding contributions of the nominee during the month of nomination

Josephine Rodriguez, Assistant Professor of Biology at The University of Virginia's College at Wise, is an outstanding professor. She made learning fun even if it was during summer break. Dr. Rodriguez brings life to what would otherwise be boring biology. She takes the time to make sure her students understand what she is teaching during lecture by asking the class critical thinking questions, and then waiting to see that the students come up with. An example of her questioning would be on July fifth, after a lecture on diffusion, she ask the students, "Why are cells so small?" The answer to her question is the limitations of diffusion, but it took the students approx. 10 minutes to put the answer together. Not only does Dr. Rodriguez push her students to think inside of the classroom, she also expects the students to connect her lectures with real-life things going on outside the classroom. On July 23, 2018, she took her student on a hike in the lots behind main campus to compare different plots in the forest. Her students noted that there were far more Autumn Olive plants in one area and ferns in another, and hypothesized that the Autumn Olive plant had been planted as they are not native to the area, whereas the ferns grew on their own. Dr. Rodriguez later shared with the students that nearly one hundred years ago the area with the ferns had been hand mined and then abandoned and the plot with all of the Autumn Olive had been mined in the 1990s and Autumn Olive was planted to stabilize the habitats and protect the soil from washing away. Her final exam for the class was July 25, 2018. The summer students had to show Dr. Rodriguez just how much they had learned in her class over the summer. Some of the skills they were tested on included; reading phylogenies and cladograms, using a microscope, understanding how to use a dichotomous key, and explaining why the bodies of water on campus were created. After the exam was over, the students were still so excited and had more questions. Dr. Rodriguez stayed over an hour after class further discussing her lab and lecture with the students. The students had left her lab and lecture and done more research on the topics discussed without being ask, which is nearly unheard of in a summer introduction class that has nothing to do with most of the students' majors. The students where asking questions like, "If plant life is more dense in tropical areas, then that would mean the oxygen level is also higher. So, why are insects still small?" As discussed in lecture, millions of years ago, insects were much larger because plants had come on land and began producing a bunch of oxygen. Now, however, the oxygen content is roughly the same all over the globe, meaning insects are going to be relativity the same size everywhere. No matter the topic the students are studying, the fact that Dr. Rodriguez inspired the students that much is astounding and deserves recognition.

Word Count: 515


Date of entry into database: 2018-07-25 17:07:49

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