By Claire Ekas:
Dan Porter, a biology professor, has been chosen to receive a national college teaching award. Porter received national recognition in October, when the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) named him the 2017 recipient of the organization’s two-year college teaching award.
According to Porter, this award doesn’t just belong to him. “I couldn’t do my job without other people. One person gets the award, but it’s really for everyone. Everyone in this biology department deserves this award.”
Porter will receive the prize at the NABT’s Professional Development Conference Honors Luncheon Nov. 11 in St. Louis, Missouri. This award annually honors a college biology educator who constantly and consistently applies creative and innovative techniques in his or her classroom.
“Dan Porter consistently goes above and beyond for our department, students and community. His father instilled and intense sense of civic duty, and as a result he is always part of the solution,” Dr. Claudie Biggers, biology department chair, said. “He believes in passing knowledge forward for a better community. Porter is a resource for everyone in the department and he shares his ideas freely,” she continued.
Porter’s award includes a recognition plaque, a one-year complimentary membership to the NABT and a $500 travel honorarium to attend the NABT’s Professional Development Conference.
Although the primary qualifying criteria is teaching skill, serious consideration is also given to scholarship demonstrated through publications or inventive techniques pertaining to teaching approaches, curriculum design and lab use.
Porter has successfully restructured his courses and labs in recent years to integrate active learning strategies featuring student-centered teaching as well as a statistics component.
Additionally, Porter is highly involved in science education in the local community. He provides a biotechnology-training framework class on Fridays for local high school students; conducts a science day at an area elementary school for the deaf; judges elementary school science fairs; conducts tours of the Natural History Museum at Amarillo College; and, as a certified Texas Master Naturalist, leads nature hikes and presents natural history workshops (clocking in at least 70 volunteer hours this year alone) at Palo Duro Canyon State Park.