Sahlin Award for Instruction


Come the end of semester, every student at WSU will fill out their share of course evaluations — never really knowing to what degree their professors take heed of their comments.
Nutrition professor Kathy Beerman wants her students to know that she not only pays attention to their comments, but those comments help shape how she teaches courses in the future.
“Their comments are very important and I take them very seriously,” she said. “It gives me the opportunity to try different things in class. I never teach a class the same way twice.”
That may be one of the reasons this 2007-08 Sahlin Faculty Excellence recipient for instruction regularly receives scores of 4.4 to 5.0 for all aspects of teaching.
Those numbers are no small feat — since joining the faculty at WSU, Beerman has taught more than 10,000 students. That number reflects not only 100- and 200-level survey courses she taught, but smaller 300- and 400-levels as well.
Her research interests include diet and health, including the effect of dietary supplements (soy isoflavones) on health parameters in menopausal women. She also has studied how technology influences teaching and learning.
“Professor Beerman is one of the most hardworking and dedicated teachers I have met,” said Beerman’s former student Laura McGinley. “She exemplifies what every professor should strive to become: she is dedicated to students, enthusiastic about her area of study and imparts her knowledge easily and readily.”
Beerman not only uses that energy to excite students in her classroom, but to inspire others across the country as well through her textbook, “Nutritional Sciences: From Fundamentals to Food,” co-written with associate professor Michelle McGuire.
“(She) is among the most gifted and creative teachers with whom I have the opportunity to work,” said Peter Marshall, Wadsworth/Thompson publisher and editor, in his letter of support. “She strives to find new and imaginative ways to tap into student interest while challenging them to learn and absorb the content of the discipline.”