Amarillo College professor receives national college teaching award

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A professor of biology at Amarillo College received national recognition in October when the National Association of Biology Teachers named him the 2017 recipient of its Two-Year College Teaching Award, according to an AC news release.

Dan Porter will be honored at the NABT’s Professional Development Conference Honors Luncheon on Nov. 11 in St. Louis. The prestigious award annually honors a college biology educator who employs new and creative techniques in classroom teaching, according to AC. Porter’s award includes a $500 travel honorarium to attend the conference, a recognition plaque and one year of complimentary membership to the NABT.

The primary criterion is skill in teaching, but serious consideration also is given to scholarship demonstrated through publications or innovative techniques relating to teaching strategies, curriculum design or laboratory utilization.

In recent years, Porter has successfully restructured his classes and labs to incorporate active learning strategies featuring student-centered pedagogy and a statistics component, according to the college. As a result, Porter says students have begun asking better questions and have demonstrated noteworthy conceptual improvements in their scientific experiments.

In addition, according to AC, Porter provides a biotechnology-training framework on Fridays for area high school students; conducts Science Day at a local elementary school for the deaf; judges elementary school sciences fairs; leads tours of the Natural History Museum at Amarillo College; and, as a certified Texas Master Naturalist, leads nature hikes and presents natural history workshops at Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

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