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MU Professor Awarded 2014 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence

March 31, 2014

Story Contact(s):
Nathan Hurst, hurstn@missouri.edu, 573-882-6217

By Sarah Clinton

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin and Commerce Bank Chair Jim Schatz today awarded one of the 2014 William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence to Bryon Wiegand, an associate professor of animal science in the Division of Animal Sciences in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

Loftin, Schatz and a group of professors, administrators and staff surprised Wiegand by honoring him with the fellowship, which includes a $10,000 check. Kemper Fellowships are awarded each year to five outstanding teachers at the University of Missouri.

The William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence were established in 1991 with a $500,000 gift. Kemper, a 1926 MU graduate, was a well-known civic leader in Kansas City until his death in 1989. His 52-year career in banking included top positions at banks in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Commerce Bank manages the trust fund.

ATTACHED: Wiegand Bio

Bryon Wiegand

Bryon Wiegand is an associate professor of animal science in the Division of Animal Sciences in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and has taught at MU since 2007. From cultivating introductory animal science knowledge among consumers to nurturing the growth of future meat scientists, Wiegand views education as the tie that binds his duties in teaching, research and outreach. His students and colleagues say Wiegand has distinguished himself through his empathy and accessibility, his passion for teaching, and his wide-ranging knowledge of animal science.

“Dr. Wiegand’s excellence in teaching is obvious to anyone who attends his lectures, and his quality of research is depicted in the impressive number of papers that he has authored. It is his friendship and advising, however, that set him apart from most other exceptional educators,” said Claire Ohman, a graduate student and advisee of Wiegand. “I am constantly impressed with his ability to establish rapport with students. He has been a valued friend, adviser and teacher, and he does everything within his power to help us succeed.”

A core part of Wiegand’s teaching philosophy revolves around incorporating multiple instruction techniques to encourage critical thinking in students with diverse learning styles. He established the meat science research program at MU, as well as a summer study abroad course for undergraduates interested in food science. He also was instrumental in developing the meat judging website JudgingPro, a multimedia tool that enhances livestock judging and simplifies training processes for agriculture teachers and students across the country.

“He makes the learning environment fun and rewarding, and I always look forward to going to class when he is teaching,” said Maggie Shane, an undergraduate student and advisee of Wiegand. “Dr. Wiegand encourages and supports each of his many students while challenging us to think critically about what we are doing and how class material relates to the real world.”

In addition to teaching and mentoring a number of students, Wiegand is the co-adviser for the Block and Bridge club and the supervisor of the MU meat judging team.. He also has served on many committees and organizational boards throughout his career, and currently is an associate editor for the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Science Education.

“Dr. Wiegand has utilized his teaching approach to give students the confidence to engage in defending and supporting their decisions,” said Rodney Geisert, a professor in the MU Division of Animal Sciences. “This is one of the purest forms of active learning, which takes a tremendous amount of time and dedication as a teacher. Few faculty members with dual research-teaching appointments take time to actively participate in the true scholarship of teaching and learning. One of Dr. Wiegand’s best qualities as a teacher is his willingness to take the time necessary to ensure that each student receives his personal attention.”

Wiegand received a bachelor’s degree in animal science from MU, a master’s degree in animal breeding from Auburn University, and a doctorate in meat science from Iowa State University.

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