Clinical pathologist named 2011 Teacher of the Year

Dr. Heather Wamsley

Dr. Heather Wamsley, an assistant professor of clinical pathology in the department of physiological sciences, has been named the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine’s 2011 College Council Teacher of the Year.

The council annually selects an outstanding teacher to receive the designation, based on criteria including knowledge of subject matter, clarity of presentation, concern for students’ mastery of subject, fairness, enthusiasm for teaching and overall interest in student welfare. The winner receives $2,000 and a plaque.

A board-certified clinical pathologist, Wamsley received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1995 and her D.V.M. with honors from the same institution in 2000. She performed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the Animal Medical Center in New York, N.Y. from 2000-2001, followed by a residency in clinical pathology at UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine, which she completed in 2004. Wamsley continued her studies at UF post-residency and received her Ph.D. in the college’s department of infectious diseases and pathology in 2008. Soon after, she was hired as a member of the CVM faculty.

“Although officially a graduate student between 2004 and 2008, Dr. Wamsley also functioned as an instructor in clinical pathology,” said Dr. John Harvey, a clinical pathologist and the college’s executive associate dean. “This included 25 percent of her time assigned to clinical duty, which involved veterinary student and veterinary resident instruction in a clinical setting.”

Wamsley also provided significant didactic lecture and laboratory teaching during her graduate years, Harvey said.

” All of this is just to say that Dr. Wamsley has been teaching in one form or another since her arrival at UF in 2001,” he said.

Wamsley has received numerous Teacher of the Year awards from various classes of veterinary students over the years. She was twice selected by the students as Support Services Resident of the Year in 2003 and 2004. In 2010, as a new faculty member, Wamsley received the prestigious C.E. Cornelius Young Investigator Award in recognition of her research contributions.

Her present research interests are veterinary education, in situ diagnostics and rickettsial disease research.

“The student of today is the colleague of tomorrow, and as such deserves the greatest respect, care and consideration that I can give at all times,” Wamsley said. “I vividly remember my days as a trainee and strive to demonstrate my gratitude to those who taught me, guided me and were kind to me on very long days by passing along the same compassionate attention and instruction forward to my students.”

Wamsley added that she was “extremely passionate” about the field of clinical pathology because virtually all patients that see a veterinarian, whether in the clinical or research setting, will require some form of clinicopathologic testing.

“It is crucial to me that this sometimes complicated topic does not intimidate current and future veterinary professionals,” Wamsley said. “The better my colleagues grasp clinical pathology, the better patient and client care they will provide.”

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