Joe Moritz, an assistant professor of poultry science in West Virginia Universitys Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences, has been awarded the Land OLakes/Purina Mills Teaching Award.

The annual award of $1,500 and an engraved plaque is presented to a member of the Poultry Science Association who, over a period of years, has demonstrated outstanding success as a teacher. The organization recognizes that excellence in teaching is the base for the future of the poultry industry.

Moritz believes knowledge and skills are best learned through enthusiastic instruction, real-world examples, hands-on learning experiences and individual attention.

It wasnt long ago that I was in the same situation,Moritz said.I know the situations I faced as a student, and I try to provide my students with practical knowledge theyll be able to use after graduation.

After earning his doctorate degree in animal sciences at Kansas State University in 2002, Moritz joined the Davis College faculty and hit the ground running. He assumed a heavy teaching load and established his research program while mentoring undergraduate and graduate students.

He was named the Davis Colleges Outstanding Teacher in 2005 and coached the Poultry Judging Team to a fifth-place finish at the U.S. Poultry&Egg Associations National Poultry Judging Contest in 2006.

In a relatively short time, Joe has enjoyed remarkable success as an educator,said Dean of the Davis College Cameron Hackney.His enthusiasm for scientific inquiry is infectious and our students are very fortunate to have him as a member of the faculty.

As an educator, Moritz believes his goal is to provide students with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to be successful on the job or in graduate or professional school.

Confidence, independent thinking and good communication are just several skills Moritz believes allow students to be successful. Small class sizes enable him to provide comfortable classroom atmospheres that encourage participation and open class discussion while fostering those types of skills.

Hes dedicated to teaching hands-on skills and each activity is an opportunity to motivate, educate and expand the horizons of our students,Hackney said.

Moritz attributes much of his success as an educator to his work environment.

Receiving this award was a big surprise and very flattering,he said.I really work in an excellent place with a lot of support.