Gainesville, Fla. – Jennifer Weeks, a faculty member in the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), received the National Teaching and Student Engagement award from the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
This award is one of the two given annually, honoring educators who exhibit meritorious teaching in food and agricultural sciences and significant levels of student engagement in formal, non-formal, and outreach settings. Weeks was recognized for her exceptional teaching, innovative methodology and service to students.
Weeks is a lecturer in the UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department, teaching courses related to biodiversity, agricultural ecology and life sciences. Weeks’ passion for developing critical thinkers and global citizens earned her praise from faculty, staff and students.
“Dr. Weeks is a model of teaching and student engagement,” said CALS Dean Elaine Turner. “She is driven to help students find, identify, nurture and articulate their passion and purpose in life.”
Weeks’ classroom utilizes skills-based assessment and a universal design approach to help students answer questions related to the “what, why, and how?” of the course material. She develops a collaborative classroom of global citizens ready to address complex agricultural problems.
One former student, Mia Acker, who also served as a teaching assistant for Weeks, emphasized Weeks’ engagement, service and dedication to students. “Dr. Weeks is a lifelong learner and was very intentional about also improving the student experiences,” Acker said. Weeks’ intentionality reverberates through her students’ experience, but she is also engaged in ways to help engage new faculty to become better teachers.
“Dr. Weeks is creative in her approaches in the classroom, in activities and programs for student organizations, and in service to the department, college and university,” said Turner. “She sets a high standard for what engagement means.”
Weeks teaches a variety of courses in traditional, online and non-formal environments. She has developed materials for courses to be taught online and served as a department representative and chair for the CALS Council on Teaching and Enhancement and Innovation. Weeks embodies a servant leader who gives back her time, resources, and knowledge to the department, university, and community.
Week’s award was presented at the 136th annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, held in Seattle, Wash.