University at Albany

Excellence in Teaching (Part Time)

Each year, the University at Albany honors special members of its community with Excellence Awards denoting exceptional contributions to the life of the campus. Two faculty members received this tribute in 2012 for Excellence in Teaching (Part Time).

Janice PataJanice PataBiomedical Science

Janice Pata is one of the most influential and effective teachers in Biomedical Sciences.  She excels in the classroom, and spearheaded a transformation in the way the department prepares students to perform cutting edge biomedical research.  She made the department into a strong community of learners by building effective communication between graduate students and faculty.  She provided the impetus for a redesign of the Biomedical curriculum by assessing how well it met graduate students’ goals, then organizing curriculum design retreats and workshops for the faculty.

Dr. Pata teaches core courses and electives, has offered directed readings courses on several advanced subjects, and workshops on specialized research topics that fulfill students’ degree requirements.  She designed a new core course in response to feedback from students and faculty, for which she brought together an excellent team of instructors, designed a new internet-accessible classroom and worked with the Wadsworth Center to renovate an unused lab space dedicated to graduate courses. She has been extraordinarily innovative, implementing Team-Based Learning in her own classes and transforming the department’s teaching by helping other faculty adopt Team-Based and Active Learning strategies in their courses.  The result has been significantly increased student satisfaction, a more engaging experience for the department’s strongest students, and more successful recruitment of dynamic graduate students. 

The new focus on the mastery of research tools (rather than memorization of a body of knowledge) has provided Biomedical students with a way to bring their unique strengths to the learning process.  Their educational backgrounds range between math, engineering, biology, chemistry, physics and public health.  The new model of teaching Dr. Pata brought to the department allows for deeper inquiry and the inclusion of multiple disciplinary perspectives. Students now see themselves as valued partners in solving contemporary research problems and have improved research, writing and speaking skills.

As the primary force in creating a student-centered culture in Biomedical Sciences, Janice Pata is truly deserving of this award.

Excellence in Teaching (Part Time)

Laura Wittern-Keller Janice Pata
Laura Wittern-Keller
Janice Pata
Biomedical Science

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