Robert L. Shewfelt
2002 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Teaching
Department: Food Science and Technology
Food Science Professor Rob Shewfelt is an outstanding teacher and mentor. During his six years in Athens, he has developed three new courses and completely revised three existing courses. He brings enthusiasm and a unique style to the classroom that inspire his students. He is an innovator in the classroom and takes a close personal interest in his students outside the classroom.
Dr. Shewfelt's teaching philosophy centers on understanding the student perspective and making his instruction relevant. If students are able to link classroom material with their own lives, they become part of the educational process and not merely receivers of information.
A major theme of his courses is specific application of general principles. In Food Issues and Choices each student completes outside assignments and answers test questions on their favorite food product. In Food Chemistry one student prepares and presents a "Molecule of the Day" at each lecture to illustrate a concept from the lecture.
Another major theme in his classes is professional development. In Chocolate Science he challenges first-year students to start thinking about careers. Food Science Forum emphasizes career development in the context of job-search skills and strategies. In Food Research and the Scientific Method graduate students participate in a simulated grant panel evaluation and design a joint laboratory with equipment and supplies given a mythical lump sum of funding.
Students describe him as innovative, enthusiastic, passionate and caring. One who has taken several of his classes says, "The only common factor among Shewfelt's classes is that he strives to get his students to think for themselves." Another student declares, "He expects his students to truly participate in their own education, and he is always willing to explain difficult topics again so that everyone can understand." A graduate claims, "I learned the most of my academic career under Dr. Shewfelt. The skills and ideas he taught have helped me excel in my career and in life."