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ADEA taps Hutchins for Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. HutchinsDr. Bob Hutchins, associate professor of biomedical sciences at Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry, is the 2011 recipient of the American Dental Education Association/Colgate-Palmolive Excellence in Teaching Award.

The prestigious honor annually recognizes a dental educator who demonstrates exemplary standards and promotes excellence in dental education through scholarship and innovation.

Hutchins was recognized during the ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition March 12-16 in San Diego. He received a $2,500 award to enhance his teaching efforts. He also will share his expertise with ADEA members during a future meeting of the association’s annual session and exhibition.

“It was and is an incredible honor to be acknowledged by your peers at a national meeting,” said Hutchins. “After years of having fun with what you love to do and then to be recognized for your efforts gives a special meaning to being an educator.”

Dr. James Cole, TAMHSC-BCD dean, and Dr. Charles Berry, associate dean for academic affairs, submitted a letter of recommendation to the ADEA award committee. They wrote that Hutchins exemplifies the qualities the award was designed to recognize.

“He is a master educator to whom many come for mentoring and advice, an innovator in the methodology and technology of teaching and a leader in teaching-related activities at the college and national level,” said Cole and Berry. “He has a sustained dedication to his students resulting in their utmost admiration and respect.”

In 2007, Hutchins published An Interactive Color Atlas of the Human Skull, a project featuring high-quality digital images, a searchable index and self-testing capabilities. Several years in the making, this teaching tool has been adopted by other schools and the American Dental Association.

According to Cole and Berry, another of Hutchins’ innovations was the introduction of peer teaching into the gross anatomy dissection laboratory. This technique permits students to dissect in alternate periods and teach their colleagues what they learned. “The program has enhanced student learning while conserving student time through this ‘learn by doing’ format,” they said.

Hutchins also has given numerous presentations and workshops to the faculty on the use of electronic teaching tools, interactive learning opportunities and computer software topics to enhance faculty teaching.

“All of these efforts directed at classroom instruction have taken a tremendous amount of time and effort on Dr. Hutchins’ part, which indicates his deep interest and concern for his teaching, student learning and teacher training,” the nominators said.

The students have responded to these efforts with consistent high ratings on his evaluations and by nominating him for the Teacher of the Year Award seven of the last eight years.

Hutchins also contributes substantial time to professional organizations, serving as a basic science consultant and site visit team member to the Commission on Dental Accreditation and participating on test construction committees for the national dental board exam.