Rob Thomas, U.S. Professor of the Year!
MEA-MFT member Rob Thomas has been named one of four U.S. Professors of the Year.
Sponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the U.S. Professor of the Year program recognizes professors who combine “a profound knowledge of their disciplines with creative teaching methods to actively engage their undergraduate students in hands-on research and extensive team work,” according to a release from the foundation.
Thomas, a geology professor at the University of Montana-Western, was chosen from among 300 nominees. He was honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Thomas has a passion for teaching geology to students in the field so they can directly experience how the Earth works.
He was one of the prime movers behind UM-Western’s move in recent years to become the first public university in the country to change from regular semester courses to block scheduling.
In “Experience One,” his geology students take a single course for 18 instructional days, working outdoors on real-world projects. For example, undergraduate students in his environmental field studies class conducted an analysis of stream restoration on the upper Big Hole River and drafted a 150-page assessment report—in 18 days.
The project was a collaborative effort with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and local ranchers to help preserve an endangered fish species.