Mark Berres, 2013 recipient of the Spitzer Excellence in Teaching Award

Dean Kate VandenBosch and Mark Berres

The 2013 Spitzer Excellence in Teaching Award was given to Mark Berres, from the Department of Animal Sciences.

One of Mark’s lectures was described by a former student as “a brilliant science lecture taken to the level of performance art.”

In his research, Dr. Berres is developing an investigative program that bridges elements of biotechnology, ornithology, genomic science, genetics, and animal agriculture. He believes that by linking concepts across these seemingly disparate fields, new and effective solutions can be developed to solve critically important challenges facing production-level agriculture. Borrowing from his research ideas, Dr. Berres has successfully incorporated the same general philosophy into his instruction of undergraduate and graduate students. The result is an integrative framework—tailored to each specific course, whether lecture- or laboratory-based—that clearly demonstrates his instructional achievements.

Mark is also known for his development of WeBIRD—or, the Wisconsin Electronic Bird Identification Resource Database. This mobile technology can automatically identify birds by their vocalizations. Developed originally for instructional use in Animal Sciences/Zoology 521, it is now used in various research applications. In collaboration with the UW-Arboretum, WeBIRD will be the focus of a new citizen science program being developed to monitor bird species.

Though Mark has a reputation for creating challenging courses, his humor and passion for the avian species make him an interesting, knowledgeable and beloved instructor.