Four faculty members at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS) were honored with awards during the college’s annual holiday party on Dec. 14.
Dr. Kenita Rogers was named professor emerita and the Association of Former Students at Texas A&M University recognized three faculty members with College-Level Teaching Awards for their talent, expertise, and devotion to creating an outstanding learning environment for students.
The Association awards were presented by director of campus programs Kelli Hutka ‘97 to Dr. Raquel Rech, clinical associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology (VTPB); Dr. Jay Griffin, associate professor in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (VLCS); and Dr. Timothy Phillips, professor in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences (VIBS).
“These awards recognize, encourage, and reward superior classroom teachers,” said CVMBS dean Dr. John August.
Throughout her career at the CVMBS, Rogers was known as a leader, a champion for diversity and wellness initiatives, and an outstanding clinician.
“I have known Dr. Rogers for a very long time,” August said. “She has done so many things to help our college—I think first and mostly as a role model, then as an oncologist, an extraordinary teacher, a confidant, and a mentor.”
Rogers retired earlier this year, but has continued to contribute to the CVMBS in a part-time role. Her efforts as leader of the CVMBS Office of Diversity & Inclusion were instrumental in the college receiving five consecutive Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) awards.
“Being a professor emerita is an extraordinary privilege,” August said. “It’s being honored by one’s peers for a job well done over a very extensive career.”
Rech was nominated for being, according to a nominator, “one of the most compassionate and thoughtful individuals I have ever met.”
As an instructor in the fourth-year diagnostics clinical rotation and a pathology course veterinary students take in the first and second years, Rech handles students who are sometimes apprehensive about pathology by putting them at ease and making learning fun, according to one nominator.
“She is very good at detecting problems students are having and anticipating challenges they will face, even if they are reluctant to discuss their issues openly,” the nominator said. “She is a strong student advocate, always putting their needs at the forefront.”
Rech was previously recognized by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists as Mentor of the Year in 2020.
An expert in diagnostic imaging, Griffin is known by his students for going above and beyond their expectations.
“Not only have I learned the important concepts of veterinary radiology from Dr. Griffin’s lectures, but having worked through dozens and dozens of his real-life examples, I genuinely feel confident and excited about reading radiographs out in the real world of clinical practice,” one nominator said.
The student went on to say that Griffin’s instruction has been so impactful that they have chosen to take an additional radiology rotation in their fourth year after previously having only a small interest in radiology.
Another student said that Griffin is a friendly face who always takes the time to keep the students involved while performing ultrasounds on patients.
“Radiology is no doubt a very challenging subject for vet students to grasp, but I can speak for myself and my classmates when I say that we were always grateful to study and learn from his classes,” the student said.
A professor of toxicology, Phillips was called an “extraordinary educator who teaches his students with unparalleled passion and profound wisdom.”
Phillips serves on the executive committee for the Interdisciplinary Faculty of Toxicology and has been recognized in the past with a Translational Impact Award from the Society of Toxicology for his work on improving public health.
One nominator said Phillips’ commitment to innovative thinking was one thing that stuck with them.
“From the very first day of class, Dr. Phillips encouraged us to think outside the box,” the nominator said. “In fact, our first lecture was on creative thinking, problem solving, and decision making, skills that are essential to every profession. Innovation was a recurring theme of the course as we explored the tenets of food toxicology and safety each week.”
Each of the three College-Level Teaching Award recipients received a plaque and monetary award.
Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of CVMBS Communications, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences; email@example.com; 979-862-4216