Dr. Rodney King Receives the OCSE Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching
- Tuesday, May 26th, 2020
Dr. Rodney King from the Biology Department is the recipient of the 2019-2020 OCSE Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. Dr. King joined the WKU faculty in 2002 and has had a vigorous and productive career over the ensuing years teaching primarily in the area of microbiology. Recent notable accomplishments include the SEA-PHAGES (Science Education Alliance – Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science) program that introduces students to world-class genomics research in the context of the classroom and teaching laboratory. This project is funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and has involved over 300 students in the Biology 212 Laboratory program documenting 59 fully annotated genomes that are now published in Genbank. SEA-PHAGES has also grown into a partnership with KY INBRE and nine additional Kentucky schools known as the Small Genome Discovery (SGD) program that has annotated an additional 28 genomes in Genbank. Multiple student presentations and at least seven publications and have also resulted, including one in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. One of the most critical characteristics of Dr. King’s teaching and mentorship is guiding students not by simply answering their questions, but by recognizing what the students have the capacity to conclude and asking “What do you think?” This helps to grow students’ critical thinking and problems solving skills significantly.