University of Wyoming Extension News

UW professor receives national excellence in teaching award

Karen Williams

A family and consumer sciences professor at the University of Wyoming has been recognized for excellence in teaching and service to students.

Karen Williams in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is one of six regional recipients of the Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences Award from the USDA Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

Williams received the award during the national APLU meeting Sunday, Nov. 11, in Denver from Catherine Woteki, chief scientist and under secretary for USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics.

“This award is a great honor, but it is really a recognition of our college, its support for teaching and the scholarship of teaching and learning, and of our students,” said Williams. “I learn more from the children I work with and the college students I’m privileged to teach than they learn from me. I have the best job in the world.”

Frank Galey, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Donna Brown, associate dean and director of the Office of Academic and Student Programs in the college, accompanied Williams. Brown, one of the nominators, was head of family and consumer sciences when Williams was recommended.

Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, madeannouncements about each of the award winners.

Recipients are evaluated on classroom teaching ability, use of innovate teaching methods, service to students and professionalism and scholarship.

“It’s really a nice honor – a tremendous honor,” said Galey. “Her innovation in the classroom and in the curriculum has been fantastic. She is a leader campus-wide in assessment and outreach education. Her online offerings and ability to navigate the online education in this state have really helped lead our outreach programs.”

Brown noted William’s leadership within the department and across the UW campus in teaching and assessing students for critical and creative thinking, professional skills and behaviors and global and multicultural awareness.

“Karen spearheaded the department’s early focus on student competencies and assessment resulting in the strategies that are considered the model on the UW campus,including the use of electronic portfolios for assessment purposes,” noted Brown.

Brown said Williams was instrumental in developing several degree programs and options on the UW campus, including the distance degree option in professional child development.

Williams also helped develop and now directs the college’s distance Bachelor of Applied Science degree program.

Williams joined UW in 1993 as an instructor in the College of Education. She became an assistant professor in 1995 in family and consumer sciences, an associate professor in 2001 and professor in 2006. She was head of the department from 2005 to 2010.