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Mark Renz wins 2019 J.S. Donald Short Course Teaching Award

Over the next few weeks, eCALS will highlight each winner of a 2019 CALS Award. Winners were recognized at an award ceremony on Wednesday, May 1.

Photo: Michael P. King

Congratulations to Mark Renz on receiving the 2019 J.S. Donald Short Course Teaching award! Renz is an associate professor in the Department of Agronomy. Shortly after he began teaching the weed identification and management course, he recognized the need for modifications that would provide a better learning experience for Farm and Industry Short Course students.

Photo: Michael P. King

His hands-on teaching approach includes bringing in live specimens for students to identify and developing an interactive final exam. For their final grade, Renz invites individuals to role-play farmers, and the students are tasked with assessing the farmers’ weed management needs and concerns before developing workable weed management solutions.

These novel approaches to teaching in the Short Course foster individual and group problem-solving skills that students can immediately apply in real-world scenarios. Renz has truly made a difference in the confidence and empowerment of his students.