ISU associate professor named nation's outstanding veterinary medical educator

AMES, Iowa -- Dr. Holly Bender, an associate professor of veterinary pathology at Iowa State University, has received the 2004 National Carl J. Norden-Pfizer Distinguished Teacher Award from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

The award recognizes outstanding instructors who contribute significantly to the advancement of the profession of veterinary medicine through their ability, dedication, character and leadership. The recognition includes a $2,500 cash award.

Bender was selected by a committee of peers from a group of nominees from each of the 28 veterinary colleges in the United States.

"Dr. Bender is most deserving of this prestigious honor, which designates her as the top veterinary medicine educator of the year. She is nationally recognized for her work to improve methods for teaching diagnostic problem-solving skills in veterinary medicine. Most importantly, she is profoundly impacting the lives of 105 students each year," said Dr. John Thomson, dean of veterinary medicine at Iowa State.

Bender led the development of Diagnostic Pathfinder, an innovative clinical instructional software tool. The software teaches students a methodology for diagnostic reasoning and instructs them to gather and analyze laboratory data before arriving at a diagnosis. It has repeatedly demonstrated improved student learning using several assessment instruments. The learning tool has been used at four veterinary medicine colleges in addition to ISU and for continuing education for practicing veterinarians on Veterinary Information Network.

Bender teaches clinical pathology and is the director of Iowa State's Biomedical Informatics Research Group. Since 1983, she has received 21 teaching awards. Her scores in evaluations by students at ISU's College of Veterinary Medicine are consistently excellent.

Bender joined the faculty at Iowa State in 2002. She received her D.V.M. in 1979 from Michigan State University, East Lansing; and her doctoral degree in 1987 from Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg. She is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists.

Bender will receive the award on July 17 at the AAVMC summer meeting Minneapolis.