Animal science instructor recognized for excellence in teaching
BOZEMAN, Mont. — An animal science instructor in Montana State University’s College of Agriculture was recognized earlier this month for her excellence in student engagement and teaching.
Hannah DelCurto-Wyffels, who teaches eight courses in MSU’s department of animal and range sciences, received the Western Region Award for Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences. She was nominated alongside faculty from land grant universities across the western half of the U.S. in the Teaching and Student Engagement category.
DelCurto-Wyffels has developed and taught seven new courses to nearly 2,500 students across a variety of diverse majors since joining the MSU faculty in 2014. In addition to teaching courses such as Introduction to Animal Science and Livestock Evaluation, she advises MSU’s Collegiate Stockgrowers Club and the Steer-A-Year Program, in which students learn about and manage the care of cattle donated by Montana producers. Those steers are then sold to MSU’s Culinary Services, a partnership that helped MSU earn a national sustainability award for the integration of local ingredients into the campus dining halls.
“In education, it is easy to get caught in a standard way of how things should be and what a typical college course should ‘look’ like,” said DelCurto-Wyffels of her teaching philosophy. “However, diverse student populations respond to diverse educational experiences and teaching approaches. As an educator, it is my job to help individuals discover their unique talents and foster ways to develop and promote knowledge that is effective for multiple learning styles.”
In addition to teaching several animal science courses each semester, DelCurto-Wyffels is also furthering her own education and is set to complete her doctorate in beef cattle nutrition through the department of animal and range sciences this fall. She also serves as the department’s internship coordinator and advises a number of graduate students.
“Hannah has continually gone above and beyond to provide her students with opportunities that assist them in becoming successful in their future careers in the agriculture industry, myself included,” said Marley Manoukian, a current MSU master’s student who took a number of undergraduate courses taught by DelCurto-Wyffels. “During my time in graduate school, she has continued to be a great mentor and is always willing to hear my questions and provide her expertise regarding both research and teaching. There is no one more deserving of this award.”
The award will be presented at the Western Joint Summer Meeting, which will bring together agricultural faculty and staff from institutions across the western U.S. in a virtual format in June, hosted by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. DelCurto-Wyffels, who also received MSU’s Teaching Innovation Award earlier this year, has been invited to speak at the meeting about her teaching philosophy.
“Soon-to-be Dr. DelCurto-Wyffels is our department’s foundation for undergraduate education,” said Patrick Hatfield, head of the department of animal and range sciences. “Her dedication and passion for student learning and animal agriculture make her one of Montana’s and Montana State University’s greatest animal agriculture learning resources.”