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August 4, 2000

Henderson Receives National Teaching Award

By Rachel Weddig
UW-RF News Bureau

His dedication and desire to teach has not gone unnoticed. As a member of the UW-River Falls faculty for 32 years, animal and food science Professor Dean Henderson was recently recognized as the top teacher in the nation in his area of expertise.

Henderson was presented the 2000 American Meat Science Association Distinguished Teaching Award at the Reciprocal Meat Conference held at Ohio State University, in Columbus, Ohio.

The AMSA distinguished teaching award was initiated in 1965 and recognizes excellence in the teaching of undergraduate and graduate meat science courses. Professors all over the country at various colleges and universities have been recipients of this prestigious award.

"I walked three feet off the ground for a week," exclaimed Henderson after learning of his achievement. "I was very thrilled to have been picked by my peers across the country."

Professor Dennis Buege from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Professor Joseph Sebrank, from Iowa State University, nominated Henderson.

Sebrank has known Henderson for 25 years, and has great praise and admiration for him.

"I have always admired his ability to truly interact intellectually with students and other clientele," Sebrank said. "He has the ability and enthusiasm to not only capture and hold student interest, but get them excited as well."

Buege also had flattering remarks for Henderson, who he has known for 22 years.

"Dean has achieved an outstanding teaching record at an institution where excellence in teaching is highly valued," Buege said.

Henderson came to UW-RF because of the Universityıs national reputation as a school that emphasizes teaching. "UW-RF is an institution that taught, and placed research and extension work secondary," Henderson explained.

Henderson teaches meat science courses and introduction to animal science. In 1969, he was responsible for developing a food science curriculum, and changing the focus of the department to animal and food science. At one time during his career, he was the lead instructor for 14 different courses.

Students and faculty recognize Hendersonıs hard work and dedication. He has been the recipient of three prestigious awards from UW-RF. He was given the UW-RF Distinguished Teacher award in 1978, the College of Agricultureıs Distinguished Service Award in 1979, and in 1993 he received the College of Agriculture Outstanding Teaching Award.

Advising students also keeps Henderson busy. He serves as one of four pre-vet medicine advisers, and guides some 60 students a year.

Sebranek believes Henderson always leaves a positive impact with students and other professionals."Everyone who has had the opportunity to work with Dean has come away with a strong impression of optimism, enthusiasm, and willing cooperation," Sebranek noted.

Buege mentioned that UW-RF is one of the three animal science programs in the UW system, with UW-Madison and UW-Platteville. He realizes that UW-RF is a tough competitor with UW-Madison for student recruitment in the animal science program.

"I donıt like losing good students to their institution, but I know those students will be served well. And Dean, and what he has helped develop at the school for the past 30 years, is a major reason for my confidence," Buege explained.

Henderson stays active with his students by associating with many student organizations. He has served as adviser to the Block and Bridle club, Alpha Zeta, Food Science club and Campus 4-H. Henderson also helps his students find internships, averaging 12 placements per year since 1976.

Henderson takes pride in his job and finds pleasure in helping others learn. "Iıve certainly been blessed by having the chance to work with so many wonderful students," Henderson said. "I look forward to coming to work every day."

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