The 2021 Cox Faculty Teaching Award was presented to “Team Steklis” (Netzin and Dieter Steklis), from the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences, in a virtual ceremony on April 26th. This award was created to recognize and honor unusual dedication and outstanding performance by a member of the CALS teaching faculty. This is the first time that it has been presented to a teaching team.
This deserving duo’s teaching strategy combines both team and collaborative learning, in which they strive to co-teach their classes in a way that creates a very dynamic teaching and learning experience. This unique and creative approach is complex, and it requires both instructors to have skills in continuously switching roles and assessing students learning.
Since their appointment in ACBS, Team Steklis has developed several upper division undergraduate/graduate courses, as well as one immensely popular general education course, ACBS 160D Human and Animal Interrelationships, which is a major student credit hour contributor to both the School and to CALS. Together they’ve also co-instructed two study abroad Primate Studies Field Schools in Rwanda.
Dieter and Netzin are both very passionate about their teaching. That’s clearly reflected in the vivid and interactive lectures they offer to students which include outstanding scientific research and methodology, as well as, real world applications. The Steklis’ have also mentored several undergraduate and graduate students through the Human Animal Interaction Research Initiative (HAIRI) which was set up for the purpose of providing hands-on research and training experiences to students.
About the pair, one of their graduate student TAs says, “When you first walk into one of Drs. Netzin and Dieter Steklis’ classes you’re greeted by a smiling, energetic pair, that starts class with a jovial mood and unparalleled enthusiasm to teach. Within the first five minutes you know that this class will be a unique and unforgettable experience. Their classes are what you hope all your classes will be like, their excitement is contagious and before long you find yourself forgetting that you’re even sitting in a classroom learning because you’re so absorbed in their energy. The co-teaching style of the two as husband and wife also contributes to what makes their classes so enjoyable.”
Outside the formal classroom, both Netzin and Dieter, also provide advice to providers of animal assisted learning therapies, including Banner Medical Center Dog Therapy Program, Hacienda on the River Senior Care Equine Activities, Little Hooves Big Hearts Equine Therapy, and the Pima County Sheriff’s canine therapy for jail inmates.
About receiving this award Dieter and Netzin say, “We’re deeply moved because we love our students, we love being in ACBS, we love being in CALs, we love our colleagues, and both of us particularly want to thank our leader ACBS Director Patricia Stock, for nominating us and supporting our team teaching. She’s always been immensely supportive of that effort and we also want to thank the students that responded so positively to our team approach.”
Congratulations Dieter and Netzin on this well deserved award!