D. Michael Denbow of Blacksburg, Va., professor of animal and poultry sciences, was awarded the 2011 Certificate of Teaching Excellence from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech.

Through a positive environment fueled by collaborative learning, Denbow says he hopes to inspire his students beyond what they can do individually. “I believe that if one has a passion for their subject, one can usually pass along that passion, thereby motivating them to exceed their own expectations,” said Denbow. “The challenge and joy for teaching can be found in those moments when we help someone grasp a concept.”

Denbow has thoroughly embraced university teaching in the broadest sense. He currently teaches six different courses across all undergraduate academic levels, guides undergraduate research projects, mentors graduate students, serves as a department core advisor, and advises student clubs and organizations. He has also directed honors reading groups.

“Dr. Denbow continually captures students’ interest with his wit, humor, sincerity, and breath of subject matter. He continually strives to make matter relevant to his audience, giving examples of how the material affects them and their everyday lives,” said David Gerrard, head of the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences. “His efforts are consistently acknowledged in the student evaluations where students routinely say that his courses are the best they have taken, or he is the best instructor that have had at Virginia Tech.”

Denbow is considered one of the college’s top academic advisors, having won the Alumni Award for Academic Advising last year. In addition to serving as a core academic advisor charged with guiding the department’s first-year and transfer students, he is also the coordinating counselor with responsibilities for maintaining the undergraduate program.

Along with his teaching and advising duties, Denbow maintains a federally funded research program where he conducts innovative research on the neurochemical control of food intake. Denbow’s research program allows him to bring the latest results to the classroom, as well as to train both master’s degree and doctoral students. Each year, he also provides several undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct research in his laboratory.

Denbow earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Maryland and his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University, all in physiology.