March 2021: Fawzy Elnady
Associate Professor in Virginia Tech’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology
Excellence in Teaching Award from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Virginia Tech
The award, presented by the center to approximately nine Virginia Tech faculty members each academic year, recognizes a faculty member's effective, engaged, and dynamic approaches and achievements as an educator.
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. Elnady’s approach to teaching is adaptive, incorporating strategies and technologies that center on student learning outcomes. “I try to simplify the information for my students, not only to understand but to retain and remember it as well, including using analogies and mnemonics,” Elnady said. “I use the up-to-date multimedia assets in my lectures. Due to COVID-19, I have maximized the use of technology and got more experience in using new tools.”
Elnady’s anatomy lab depends upon active, experiential learning and a flipped classroom approach. His students prepare for each dissection with online video clips and resources, allowing more time in the lab for students to explore and get help locating anatomical structures. “Our students are impressive,” Elnady said. “They look like bees in the lab, very busy finishing the material in the allocated times. I always want to make sure they understand the material and answer their questions.” He has also introduced the innovative strategy of using real animal specimens in the classroom, their tissue preserved with his unique Elnady Technique. This technique makes the durable, dry, clean, and safe specimens available to students at room temperature at any time.
One student, Haleigh Hixson, expressed appreciation for Elnady’s commitment and creative flexibility throughout the past year. “Despite the many challenges that COVID-19 has presented, Dr. Elnady has once again gone to remarkable lengths to enrich his students’ education,” Hixson said. “Although I could easily compile an extensive list highlighting all that he has done within this last year alone, I will summarize his endeavors by stating that Dr. Elnady is an exceptional instructor who is deserving of this recognition by Virginia Tech.”
Bonnie Smith, an Associate Professor and colleague of Elnady’s in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, recognized his promise as an instructor in the early days of Elnady’s career. “I first met Fawzy in the mid-1990’s when I served as his major professor in his doctoral program,” Smith said. “I ‘pegged’ him then as an exceptional person and a wonderful and dedicated teacher skilled in many areas. Now that we’ve been successful at getting him here with us at Tech, he’s only proven more and more how excellent his knowledge and teaching expertise is!”
Elnady shared a moment of mutual gratitude with his students as one of his most memorable experiences in teaching. “I still remember my first lecture in 2019 in VMRCVM,” Elnady said. “I told the students during the lecture that I am here to serve them, anytime, anywhere, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the whole class clapped. I am really happy because my students usually appreciate my efforts and express this in a way that I feel and appreciate.”