Cameron University’s Dr. Michael Husak, associate professor of biological sciences, has been honored with the 2011 Harold and Elizabeth Hackler Teaching Excellence Award. The Hackler Lectureship in Teaching Excellence was established in 1996 by CU alumni Harold and Elizabeth Hackler to recognize outstanding contributions by faculty in the lives of Cameron students. Husak received the award this evening during a reception featuring Mr. and Mrs. Hackler at Cameron University-Duncan. Cameron graduate Diane Landoll, who is now pursuing a doctorate in zoology, introduced Husak, sharing stories of how her education was impacted by the Hackler recipient.
“At Cameron, student learning is our top priority,” says Dr. John McArthur, Provost. “We very much appreciate the Hacklers for helping us recognize the faculty members who excel at the activity we value most as an institution. Dr. Husak is an excellent faculty member and an outstanding teacher.”
Through the endowment, Husak will receive a stipend and a grant for professional development. His name will be added to the Hackler Award honor roll plaque that is on display at the CU-Duncan campus.
Husak was nominated by Dr. Carla J. Guthridge, Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. “Whether imitating the sounds or movements, Dr. Husak is known by his students for his distinct ability to bring to life the cast of characters he teaches about in zoology, mammalogy and ornithology,” Guthridge said. “He is energetic, entertaining, enthusiastic and motivational when he teaches students. He is creative and shares his love of the outside world of life with his students through field work. He teaches them to be passionate about learning and discovery science, to respect critters of all types, and to be faithful stewards of our ecosystems.”
She also recognized his research efforts by noting, “Dr. Husak inspires students through research. He readily shares his love of research with his students and involves them in research projects at all levels.”
Dr. Guthridge concluded the nomination with, “Through his passion and dedication to student learning, he exemplifies what it means to be an outstanding educator.”
Husak believes in a student-centered approach to teaching which enlists the students as active participants in the learning process.
“Learning beyond the classroom should be an integral part of education in the sciences, especially when students are excited about and interested in pursuing particular topics,” Husak says. “I believe there is no better way to learn about the biological sciences than to actively participate in it.”
Husak holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Biology from Angelo State University. He earned a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences with an emphasis on Ecology from Mississippi State University. A member of the Cameron faculty since 2003, Husak was voted Professor of the Year by students of Biological Sciences in 2006. In addition to teaching biology, ecology, mammalogy, ornithology, and zoology, he is the collection manager and curator of vertebrates for the Cameron University Museum of Zoology.
Recipients of the Harold and Elizabeth Hackler Teaching Excellence Award are selected based on nominations from faculty and students. All faculty who have been regular full-time members of the CU faculty for at least three years and hold an appointment as an assistant professor or higher are eligible. The candidate’s principle assignment must be teaching.
November 15, 2011