Institute for Integrative Genome Biology

2015–2016 Distinguished Teaching Award

IIGB/CEPCEB professor Katherine Borkovich received the Academic Senate 2015-16 Distinguished Teaching Award for embracing the most time-consuming aspects of excellent teaching.

Professor Katherine Borkovich moved to UCR’s Department of Plant Pathology from the UT Houston Medical School in 2001, the same year that she won their Dean’s award for Teaching Excellence. At UCR, she became a driving force in establishing the undergraduate microbiology major, the first director of the reinstated microbiology graduate program, and then Chair of the department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology.

She incorporates scientific writing, statistical computation, and original research experiments into her undergraduate courses, following up with generous office hours. The award committee noted that she is one of the few instructors who assign and grade papers in large undergraduate science courses. Students value this writing component because she devotes so much time to reading their papers and providing feedback in time for informed revision.

The microbiology capstone course, which Dr. Borkovich developed, has the structure of a group senior thesis in which students design and perform experiments, prepare illustrations and draft manuscripts. The course generates valuable research data and peer-reviewed publications with student authors. Colleagues who copied the course structure at Texas A&M were “surprised by the amount of time and effort it took to do this successfully.”

Dr. Borkovich has trained 45 STEM undergraduate researchers and collaborated with colleagues in CNAS to secure two substantial grants to improve STEM education. Letters from colleagues and students establish that Dr. Borkovich is a “leader in both teaching and developing new educational opportunities for undergraduate students.” UCR’s Academic Senate found her fully deserving of their 2015-16 Distinguished Teaching Award.

IIGB congratulates Kathy on this outstanding honor!

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University of California, Riverside
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Institute of Integrative Genome Biology
2150 Batchelor Hall

Tel: (951) 827-7177
E-mail: Aurelia Espinoza, Managing Director