Professor with local roots earns teaching award

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RADFORD, Virginia — Jamie Lau, assistant professor of biology at Radford University, earned the institution’s 2021 Donald N. Dedmon Distinguished Teaching Professor Award.

The award “recognizes and rewards outstanding teaching,” according to the university’s Division of Academic Affairs.

Criteria for the award nominees include having an outstanding teaching record, being professionally active in their discipline, and “being recognized by colleagues and students as thoroughly knowledgeable in the subject matter and current scholarship in their subject area.

“They should be skilled and effective in the use of innovative and creative teaching methods. Their students should be challenged to think critically, to interrelate learning across disciplinary boundaries, and to initiate their own inquiries and lifelong learning.”

Lau plans her courses as Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs), in which students design and conduct unique research projects.

Since fall 2017, Lau has directed 168 undergraduate research projects in courses ranging from ecology and adaptation to population ecology.

In addition to teaching, Lau is the lead professor of RU’s Stream Team, an interdisciplinary research project examining anthropogenic effects on freshwater streams near Roanoke, Virginia. The team is comprised of biologists, chemists, physicists and geologists. The Stream Team collects insects, water and soil samples, and environmental data, as well as maps groundwater, to determine the current health of streams and as a way to inform future restoration practices after human impacts on the ecosystem.

Lau is a 1997 graduate of Pendleton Heights High School.

She earned a bachelor of science degree in biology from Hanover College, and master’s of science and doctoral degrees in biology and environmental science from Ball State University.

She is the daughter of Drs. Ken and Linda Lau.