Sharon Jansa (Ecology, Evolution and Behavior) received this year’s Stanley Dagley-Samuel Kirkwood Undergraduate Education Award. The award acknowledges exceptional contributions to undergraduate education by a College of Biological Sciences faculty member through classroom presentation, educational innovation and curriculum development, as well as work with individual students.
Jansa teaches a highly rated mammalogy course each fall. She designed the course and participated in an effort to redesign the zoology classroom, resulting in a much more functional space that encourages student participation.
Known as a dynamic lecturer, students regularly comment on Jansa’s engaging teaching styke. One student described her as the “best lecturer” she has had at the University in a course evaluation. Another commented on Jansa’s ability to explain concepts in a way that is both clear and compelling.
“I love the enthusiasm that students bring to Mammalogy,” Jansa says. “This is one of the few universities with a comprehensive collection of mammal specimens [at the Bell Museum], and students get hands-on experience with this collection. I love teaching a class where students get to see the real thing — real specimens of lions, tigers, and bears, but also of pangolins, colugos, vampire bats and rodents.”
Jansa’s research focuses on mammalian systematics and biogeography with an eye to understanding species diversification. She joined the College of Biological Sciences faculty in 2002 and serves as curator of mammals for the Bell Museum of Natural History.