Dr. Jennifer Schleining, a clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS), has been awarded a Texas A&M Provost Academic Professional Track Faculty Teaching Excellence Award for her outstanding skills as an educator.
Established in 2019, the award celebrates the best instructors at Texas A&M University by encouraging, recognizing, and rewarding faculty who provide students with meaningful learning experiences, embrace effective teaching approaches, and value student-centered learning.
“I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be an educator at Texas A&M, where teaching is not only valued, but supported at all levels,” Schleining said. “Creativity in the classroom is encouraged and student learning is truly a priority. I work with an amazing group of colleagues and students who make coming to work every day fun and extremely rewarding. There is no better feeling as an educator than to know you are making a positive impact and I thank everyone who contributed to my nomination for this award. I am very grateful.”
Schleining, who joined the CVMBS’ Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (VLCS) in 2018, was selected as one of 10 recipients in the 2020-2021 cohort.
“Dr. Schleining is one of the most uniquely innovative teachers within the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences,” one nominator said. “She has an amazing ability to use both low- and high-technology tools to uniquely enhance active learning for students. It is without question that she will continue to touch future generations of veterinarians in the years to come.”
Embracing Effective Teaching
As a large animal clinical educator, Schleining teaches students during all four years of the veterinary curriculum.
Her pre-clinical courses cover a variety of subjects, including professional and clinical skills, rural practice, principles of surgery, and large animal diagnostics and therapeutics. She also leads fourth-year veterinary students during their food animal clinical rotations at the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH).
“Dr. Schleining exemplifies the ‘learn one, do one, teach one’ method of helping students understand, fully grasp, and eventually excel in skills she teaches,” a student nominator said. “By supporting students through the learning and doing phases, she pushes us to teach our peers and future colleagues once we master each concept or skill.”
One of Schleining’s most notable courses is Practical Large Animal Medicine for the Rural Practitioner, an elective course for third-year veterinary students. By giving students a realistic view of life as a rural practitioner through guest lectures and virtual reality activities, she inspires many to consider working in underserved rural areas.
“In addition to providing aspiring rural practitioner students with the experiences of working as a veterinarian in West Texas, Dr. Schleining also engages students from urban and suburban backgrounds who might not otherwise be exposed to the unique challenges of veterinary rural practice,” another nominator said. “In doing so, Dr. Schleining helps all students develop an appreciation and understanding of rural agricultural practice.”
Most recently, Schleining demonstrated her skills as an educator and desire for student success as she worked to quickly restructure her Integrated Animal Care III course when Texas A&M moved to all virtual classes during the Spring 2020 semester.
After incorporating her new virtual teaching plan in this required course for second-year veterinary students, she learned that many students felt overwhelmed by the increased level of work required in the virtual environment and immediately began restructuring again.
“The complete reorganization of the class two times over demonstrates Dr. Schleining’s dedication to student-centered learning,” the student nominator said. “The effort she puts into the daily learning experience is unmatched.”
Beyond The Classroom
Schleining also inspires her fellow educators to incorporate student-centered learning as much as possible.
“In addition to serving as an example of an excellent role model for students and trainees, Dr. Schleining serves as a supportive figure and mentor for her colleagues,” another nominator said. “Whether providing support to a fellow faculty member designing new course materials or helping a colleague navigate a challenging conversation with a student, Dr. Schleining serves as an invaluable source of wisdom and support.”
In September 2020, Schleining took on a new position, in addition to her teaching roles, as one of two directors for the Office of Veterinary Continuing Education, which provides lecture-based conferences, hands-on laboratories, and virtual continuing education opportunities for practicing veterinarians and veterinary technicians.
Schleining joined the CVMBS from Iowa State University, where she had earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) in 2001, completed a large animal surgery residency in 2008, and earned a master’s degree in veterinary clinical science in 2009.
As part of her recognition, she will receive a monetary award from the Marie M. and James H. Galloway Foundation and has been invited to collaborate with the Texas A&M Center for Teaching Excellence to share her expertise with other instructors across campus.
Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of CVMBS Communications, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences; firstname.lastname@example.org; 979-862-4216