Parasitologist receives Zoetis Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award

Dr. Heather Walden

Dr. Heather Walden

Dr. Heather Walden, an assistant professor of veterinary parasitology, has received the UF College of Veterinary Medicine’s 2016 Zoetis Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award.

Walden was selected based on numerous criteria, including peer and student evaluations; quality of teaching and impact on student learning; and teaching-related research, service and publishing activities.

A member of the college’s faculty since 2010, she handles the largest didactic teaching load of any faculty member in the department of infectious diseases and pathology, teaching core parasitology along with courses in small and large animal pathology to UF veterinary medical students, said Dr. John Dame, the department’s chairman.

He said Walden had inherited a teaching load once shared by four classical parasitologists.

“Dr. Walden’s student evaluations consistently exceed both the department and the college mean for overall teaching performance,” Dame said. “Her outstanding scores come as the result of her excitement about her academic discipline and her clear presentation of the subject matter, which inspire her students to evaluate her instruction so highly.”

In addition to her teaching duties, Walden trains summer students in her laboratory and provides diagnostic services to the UF Veterinary Hospitals as well as many other public and private institutions, he added.

“Dr. Walden contributes uniquely at the University of Florida, since few classically trained parasitologists are available nationally to present this body of knowledge to veterinary medical students,” Dame said. “We feel very privileged to have Dr. Walden on our faculty, especially with her dedication to effective teaching, which we believe will inspire others to follow this specialty.”

Walden received a bachelor’s degree and a subsequent master’s degree, both in biology, from the University of Kentucky and Appalachian State University, respectively. She completed her Ph.D. in biomedical sciences with a concentration in parasitology from Auburn University in 2008.

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