Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2012

Faculty Award winner

Robert Borgon

 College of Medicine

 Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences

Teaching is a learning experience, and effectively engaging and transferring knowledge to hundreds of students is a skill that must be developed and improved upon each semester. I believe teaching can be honed through experience, listening to students, learning from colleagues, and developing new ways to connect to the students.

By truly listening to my students I’ve developed and improved my courses beyond what I ever imagined. I’ve written a course book and laboratory manual with detailed figures to thoroughly explain advanced concepts. I assign multiple homework assignments to allow students to apply knowledge and develop critical thinking. I use class message boards to stimulate discussion. I record lectures and post them online for students to re-listen when studying, or to reach students unable to attend class. I encourage students to review their exams with me. Sometimes small additions—such as providing a Grade Calculator to let students know exactly where they stand—have huge impacts on performance. All of these were implemented as a direct response to student suggestions or concerns. In my classes students can learn the material in a manner that best suits them—through reading, attending lecture, listening online, using the message board, meeting with me or TAs, practicing problems, and applying knowledge on advanced assignments.

My teaching philosophy has its foundation in teachers who inspired me through their passion, engagement, mentorship, and emphasis on critical thinking. Similarly, I aim to inspire my students to get excited about science and become great teachers themselves. In a unique internship course, I teach students to “teach” and to become engaging lecturers. They teach students in the lab, lecture on course material, tutor students on homework assignments, and manage class message boards. Through teaching they also improve their mastery of the material.

Overall, I work hard to adapt, evolve, and learn to become a more effective and engaging teacher, and I aim to inspire all my students to excel and become great scientists, doctors, and teachers.