University at Albany

Excellence in Teaching (Full 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. Three faculty members received this tribute in 2014 for Excellence in Teaching (Full Time).

David StraitDavid StraitAnthropology

Professor David Strait’s course offerings at the undergraduate and graduate levels have been integral to the undergraduate and graduate programs in Human Biology and Biological Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology. Under Dr. Strait’s directorship of the Human Biology major, it has grown from approximately 100 majors to become the 3rd largest major at the University with approximately 500 majors. Dr. Strait’s hard work and infectious enthusiasm makes him one of our most successful professors, and a linchpin of the department. Students regularly comment on his attention to their intellectual needs, on how he almost effortlessly makes them want to reach his high standards, and on his self-deprecating sense of humor which helps make his classes both enjoyable and stimulating.

Dr. Strait's dedication to teaching and to his students extends well beyond the classroom. As part of the undergraduate anatomy course, Dr. Strait organized a field-trip to New York City to view an exhibit of anatomical dissections. When nearly every student in the class expressed an interest, a bus was chartered for the trip. This impressive level of enthusiasm for a voluntary trip is only generated if the professor has made a significant impact and impression on the students.

Professor Strait regularly provides research opportunities for undergraduates and for exceptional local high school students through his own grant-funded research projects. He also provides educational opportunities outside of class for his graduate students. For example, he has maintained a journal club to mentor paleo-anthropology graduate students. He provides balanced feedback to these students, praising their successes and drawing attention to areas where a student has not met expectations. He works hard to ensure that his students learn useable skills that they will carry into the next professional phase of life.

We are proud to honor Professor David Strait with the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award. He performs superbly in a wide variety of classroom settings, is an exceptional internationally recognized scholar, and is particularly generous with his effort on behalf of students. He exemplifies what a teacher, scholar, and mentor can and should be.

Excellence in Teaching (Full Time)

Jean Chandler David Strait
Michelle Moshier
and Law
David Strait

Students participate in more than 200 student clubs and honor societies, and enjoy a busy calendar of campus events.