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Jamie Stewart

Jamie Stewart, DVM, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor in Production Management Medicine in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences

Excellence in Teaching Spotlight by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Virginia Tech

This spotlight is presented by The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and highlights a faculty member's effective, engaging, and impactful approach to teaching and learning at Virginia Tech.

Among the goals of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning are advancing experiential learning at Virginia Tech and improving student learning through research-based instructional practices and student-centered design. According to Stewart, her approach to teaching focuses on continuous education and ensuring that her lectures are up to date: “I try to first educate myself as much as possible. It is important to me that I find the time to update my lectures every couple of years. The information in food animal medicine and reproduction is ever-evolving, and I try to convey to my students the importance of staying up-to-date on information by reading journal articles and attending CE (Continuing Education) meetings. Half of what students learn is obsolete by 5-10 years out of vet school, so teaching them where to find information is just as important as learning the basics.”

When asked to recall her most memorable and meaningful moment as a teacher, Stewart said, “I love getting to see the progression from first year to fourth year veterinary students. For many, I am helping to provide them with their first experience in performing procedures, such as palpation in cattle. Then to see them come through the clinic as a fourth year and really understand how we use that technique for diagnostics is so satisfying as a teacher.”

Stewart has also been involved in creating a class emphasizing experiential learning: “When my 3rd year students kept commenting on how they wish they had the ability to have more teaching labs, my big project was to create a "laboratory"-focused class that doubled the amount of time they got to palpate cows and give them a leg up on the technique. This year, I was also really excited to introduce them to some "hand and wrist" exercises that were proven to help students increase grip strength and improve palpation skills.”

Nicole Sugai, one of Stewart’s students, is currently a mentee/part resident at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Sugai elaborated on how fortunate she is to have Stewart be a part of her clinical training: “She is a wonderful teacher and mentor and I am so fortunate to know her. Dr. Jamie Stewart is an outstanding clinical educator. She works tirelessly to provide great learning opportunities to students in the classroom, in labs, and in clinical settings. Her training methods are able to break down complex topics enabling students to better comprehend topics in her field. She has been a wonderful mentor to myself as well and an active participant in my clinical training as part of my residency.”

One of Stewart’s colleagues, Sherri Clark-Deener, commented on Stewart’s positive attitude and dedication to training students: “Jamie brings a very positive perspective to our students’ educational experience in food animal reproduction. She has revised old teaching styles and initiated new teaching laboratories and models to aid in training our veterinary students with necessary skills. We are lucky to have an instructor who also involves students in applied reproductive research in large animals.” 

Stewart provided the following advice for new college teachers: “Really encourage your students to fill out their evaluations at the end of the semester. I've found that it helps if I tell students how I have used the recommendations to improve the course over my first 5 years here as a teacher... they are always willing to give honest and constructive feedback if they know we will read and utilize it.”