“He cares about us – who we are, what we really want to do with our lives, how we’re developing as people – not just about how we’re progressing through academia.”

Those are the words Brittany Ratcliff used to describe her adviser, Ken Blemings, a professor of biochemistry at West Virginia University.

Blemings’ concern for students and commitment to their success has been recognized by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Blemings received one of six regional Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences Awards at the association’s annual meeting in Denver held Nov. 11-13.

Click to hear Ken Blemings discuss his approach with WVUToday radio.

The award is sponsored by APLU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program receives nominations from a large spectrum of departments in agriculture, natural resources, veterinary science, and human sciences. A selection committee of nationally recognized teachers and scholars evaluates nominees on the basis of their ability as classroom teachers, use of innovative teaching methodology, service to students and their profession, and scholarship.

Blemings teaches biochemistry to students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels from across the University who have an interest in the life sciences. An extremely demanding and scientifically rigorous discipline in the science, technology, engineering and math area, the biochemistry cohort includes students who plan to pursue graduate studies or professional education in veterinary or human medicine.

He has been involved in the Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry program practically since its inception in 1998. Since that time, student enrollment has steadily increased from an initial enrollment of three to more than 130.

“Because of the academic challenge associated with this degree, it attracts some of WVU’s most talented undergraduate students,” said Matt Wilson, director of WVU’s Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences. “Certainly a strong academic performance in biochemistry is conducive to serious consideration in any application to a post-graduate program in the sciences.”

Dan Robison, dean of the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, added, “Ken is the kind of committed scholar and teacher that exemplifies our college, and it is through his dedication to our students that they learn how to be effective in their work and learning. We congratulate him!”

Blemings distills his teaching philosophy down to the seemingly simple phrase, “Know your students.”

“In my classroom, I make a sincere effort to make this happen,” Blemings said. “I look to learn my student’s names and something about each one of them. In this way, I establish a personal connection with them. I think we learn best from people to whom we are personally connected.”

Blemings was one of six WVU faculty members to receive the 2012 WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching. He has also been named the outstanding advisor by students in the WVU Honors College and in the Davis College.



CONTACT: David Welsh, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design
304-293-2394, dwelsh@wvu.edu

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