Jianping Wang receives NACTA educator award


Dr. Wang is standing in the middle of the front row. (Contributed from UF/IFAS, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences)

University of Florida Genetics Institute faculty member Jianping Wang received a North America Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Educator Award at the June 2016 conference.

Wang is an assistant professor in the department of agronomy.

“I felt surprised, very excited, and very honored,” Wang said of receiving the award.

She was nominated by CALS Associate Dean Al Wysocki, PhD.

“Dr. Wang is one of our outstanding teaching faculty,” Wysocki said. “Her commitment to her students and teaching made it an easy choice for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences to nominate her for this award.”

Wang said she isn’t sure precisely what it is about her teaching methods that merited the honor.

Wysocki said he nominated her because, “one of Dr. Wang’s many strengths is her ability to communicate the science of crop genetics in a way that students both understand and get excited about.”

Student evaluations of the class recount efforts to assist students in every conceivable capacity– from helping students avoid buying expensive clicker equipment by devising a system where students raise colored cards, to gathering student feedback during the middle of the semester, in case she needed to alter teacher strategies mid-stream.

“This spoke volumes to me because it truly meant that Dr. Wang was invested in the course and dedicated to educating her students,” one student wrote. “She summarized the comments and presented them to the class the next day. I was floored by her resolve and strength as she publicly spoke her thoughts on the criticisms to which she was exposed.”

Wang says she makes herself available to students by walking around the room before and after class. She also has an open-door policy, which allows students to stop by her office any time during the day. She said she tries to respond as quickly as she can to email requests.

As her teacher evaluations attest, “Dr. Wang is a great instructor, and shows a lot of care for all of her students. She is always available to answer any questions we may have and is very passionate about the subject.”

In response to the award, she plans to keep incorporating student and colleague feedback into her planning.

“I was very engaged and invested in the course and dedicated to educating the students,” Wang said. “Students can feel my efforts.”