2016 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Teaching
Whether he is explaining the historical impacts of body lice or the role that insect larvae play in wetland ecosystems, Darold Batzer has the ability to reach his students where they are.
Since 1996, Batzer, a professor of entomology, has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on aquatic insects and freshwater ecology. In the process of developing these courses, Batzer wrote two textbooks on wetland ecology that are used by instructors internationally.
Through his ecology courses, he’s taught hundreds of students about the tiny, but complex, web of invertebrate life that can spring up in spring-fed bogs or flood plain wetlands.
“Dr. Batzer is one of the most engaging and passionate teachers I have come across in my many years as a student,” wrote former University of Georgia master’s degree student Courtney Holt. “The combination of lecture, discussion and field work has made the information I learned in his classes more memorable and applicable.”
Batzer has won accolades from students for coteaching the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences popular medical entomology course. The class, which draws between 150 to 190 students each session, focuses on the diseases that insects can spread and uses current events and historical incidents to illustrate the impact of those diseases.
In addition to teaching, Batzer’s research program, which now focuses on the value and ecological impact of protecting wetlands on and near farms, has always included graduate students. He’s mentored 23 graduate students over the course of his time at UGA.
As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant that’s funding his current research into wetlands and agricultural lands, Batzer is working with schoolteachers to help them bring more real-world knowledge of wetlands into their classrooms.