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Going Above and Beyond: Faculty Edition

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The semester was tough for students and faculty alike. So we asked our students which faculty went above and beyond to foster their connection and growth during fall 2020 semester. Here are the students’ nominations and responses.

Victoria Beasley

Victoria Beasley, lecturer, Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications

“She was extremely helpful, made time to Zoom with me when I was struggling, and had a positive attitude.”


Jennifer Franklin

Jennifer Franklin, professor, Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries

“Dr. Franklin did everything possible to ensure her students got a nearly full tree biology experience despite the setbacks of the times. She did a great job encouraging social distancing while still showing us the ins and outs of tree health. She designed her labs to be scavenger hunt style so students could work safely either solo or in pairs. Her lectures were well put together and made even difficult concepts seem easy. I hope Dr. Franklin sees this letter and gives herself a pat on the back for the amazing job she did for her students.”


Lannett Edwards

Lannett Edwards, professor, Department of Animal Science

“Dr. Edwards made an effort to keep the class experience as normal as possible and provide a great learning environment!”

“Dr. Edwards went above and beyond to ensure that students had a meaningful and interactive learning experience while still maintaining COVID-19 guidelines. She made ANSC 320 an enjoyable class by providing in-person anatomy labs and organizing material review activities.”


Gina Pighetti

Gina Pighetti, associate professor, Department of Animal Science

“Dr. Pighetti was an outstanding professor this semester. Her ability to adjust was amazing. She went above and beyond to make sure that we still understood the material when the majority of the class had to go into quarantine. Dr. Pighetti was very efficient at responding to emails and addressing students’ concerns. She is an excellent professor, communicator, and resource. I am so thankful for her, and I know this semester would have been worse if she was not understanding and so caring. We love you, Dr. Pighetti, and I hope you had a wonderful break!”


Andy Pulte

Andy Pulte, distinguished lecturer and director, Department ofPlant Sciences

“This semester has been especially hard for me. I have never had a professor come to me and say they were worried about my wellbeing, but he did. He made sure that I knew he was there for anything I may need while I am here at UT. He is a very hands-on professor. He tries to make the class as interesting as possible. He has so much knowledge. He is an excellent academic advisor and professor. I don’t think I will ever forget Dr. Pulte and everything he did to help me this semester.”


Amber Rayborn

Amber Rayborn, student success advisor, Herbert College of Agriculture

“She’s so kind and there for her students!”

“The guest speakers she brought in taught me about real-life situations more than any class ever has. She genuinely cares about her students and wants to see us succeed. She has a busy life, and she still makes time to go above and beyond.”

“Mrs. Amber was incredibly nice and understanding this year. She really pushed us to branch out and explore and help us meet new professors. She went through the process of making sure everyone knew when she was available, and made herself available, especially to us students, as an advisor and teacher. She was so kind and she really enjoyed her work. My personal favorite was just her availability and constant reminders and updates throughout the year through GroupMe and emails.”


Andrew Sherfy

Andrew Sherfy, senior lecturer, Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science

“He made a group chat for class and had safe and fun field trips. You can see his passion for soil in his lectures. His asynchronous lectures make you feel like he is sitting in class right there with you when he asks questions and explains concepts.”


John Stier

John Stier, associate dean, Herbert College of Agriculture; Professor, Department of Plant Sciences

“He did everything in his power to make sure we learned and experienced the class as normal as possible. He went above and beyond to get his students’ opinions on how the class was going and if there was anything he could change to make things better for us. I enjoyed his class so much and learned so many things that I will carry with me throughout my whole life. I wish I could take more of his classes.”


Carrie Stephens

Carrie Stephens, professor, Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications

“She was my encourager and motivator!! She filled my semester with course content that will be used for a lifetime!!”

“Always there when you need her and just an outstanding instructor.”


Molly West

Molly West, post-doctoral research associate, Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications

“Dr. West was a wonderful professor for FDSC 150. She made sure to set up fast and easy communication and always responded to students’ concerns quickly. She also made sure to always update the class on deadlines for grades, happenings throughout Herbert, and any other UT engagements that she thought we would be interested in. The way she set up her class was wonderful. I always felt engaged, and she made sure to have ways for us to interact with her lesson that made us feel comfortable. I learned a lot from her class and always looked forward to her lesson. She fully understood how hard online classes can be and adapted wonderfully.”

“She made sure that we all could reach her at any given time, and she was super understanding when it came to lectures and Wi-Fi issues. She went out of her way to allow students to still be able to watch her lectures. Great professor!”


Mark Windham

Mark Windham, professor and distinguished chair, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology

“He was extremely understanding and made intentional effort to be flexible with students who were affected by COVID-19 or any other personal circumstances. He encouraged us, very genuinely, to come to him if we needed to talk about our mental health.”


Daniel Yoder

Daniel Yoder, assistant department head and professor, Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science

“He’s always on top of things and caring about each of his students. He treats us like we are more than just a number!”