COLLEGE STATION, Texas-The Texas A&M; Association of Former Students recently honored two outstanding Texas A&M; College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) faculty members in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences (VSCS). Dr. Audrey Cook, associate professor, and Dr. Ashley Saunders, associate professor, received The Association of Former Students College-Level Teaching Award during a department meeting on Dec. 7, 2015. The award recognizes Cook and Saunders for their excellence in teaching and devotion to their students.
“This award recognizes the important contribution Dr. Cook and Dr. Saunders make to the lives of so many here at Texas A&M; University,” said Kathryn Greenwade ’88, vice president for communications and human resources at The Association of Former Students. “Texas A&M; is fortunate to have many outstanding classroom teachers across our campus, and The Association is proud to recognize the best of the best annually with this meaningful award.”
“We’d like to thank them for the work they do to increase learning,” said Dr. Blanca Lupiani, interim dean of faculties and associate provost, “as well as the work they do for the students and for the good work they do in research, teaching, and service.”
“Drs. Cook and Saunders are truly outstanding clinicians and educators,” said Dr. Jonathan Levine, department head and Helen McWhorter chair in VSCS. “It is an honor to work with them as our department continues to prioritize excellence in student learning.”
Cook works with both the Internal Medicine Service and the Feline Internal Medicine Service at the Small Animal Hospital and has been with the CVM since 2007. She is also a diplomate of both the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and is recognized as a specialist in feline practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. With interests in endoscopy, gastroenterology, and endocrinology, Cook works diligently with veterinary students in a clinical setting to prepare them for their future work in the veterinary profession. This is her first teaching award while serving on the faculty at the CVM.
“It is a real thrill to receive this award, and I am very grateful to all those who made it happen,” Cook said. “It is such a privilege to be part of this college and to help our students follow their dreams. I have the best job in the world!”
“Dr. Cook is an exceptional clinician and teacher,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King dean of veterinary medicine. “The enthusiasm she brings to work each day makes her a delight to work with, and the care she shows her patients and students is outstanding. She provides students with unique educational experiences, and we are proud that she is being recognized with this prestigious award.”
Saunders has been with the CVM since joining the faculty in 2005 as a clinical assistant professor, where she focuses on cardiac issues in small animals, including congenital heart disease and heart failure management. In the Small Animal Cardiology Service, Saunders works closely with veterinary students in the hospital to prepare them for difficult and complex cases. She is also a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (subspecialty cardiology) and has been widely recognized for her teaching, having won several other awards. Her teaching awards include the Bridges Teaching and Service Award in 2011 and the Richard H. Davis Teaching Award in 2010, and she was named a Montague Center for Teaching Excellence Scholar in 2009. Additionally, she is the assistant department head for teaching in VSCS.
“Every interaction in the classroom or on the clinical cardiology service is an opportunity for me to get the students excited about cardiology and to teach them the fundamentals to be successful when they graduate,” said Saunders. “I am honored to receive this award.”
“Dr. Saunders’ passion for patient care and complete devotion to her students make her so worthy of this award.” Green said. “We congratulate Dr. Saunders on this well-deserved honor that recognizes her exceptional contributions to the education of veterinary students that begin in the clinic and make long-lasting impacts on the profession.”
Every year faculty and students select the honorees of The Association’s College-Level Teaching Award, and they are presented with a plaque and a stipend. The awards begun in 1955 and recognize outstanding members of Texas A&M;’s faculty and staff for their commitment, performance, and positive impact on Aggie students, Texas citizens, and the world around them.