Richard S. Zack, associate professor of Entomology at Washington State University, has been selected the Marian E. Smith Faculty Achievement Award recipient for 2003-04.
The award is bestowed each spring on a WSU faculty member in recognition of significant and meritorious achievement in teaching during the prior academic year. Recipients also receive a $5,000 cash award.
Zack was selected for the award for his innovative reinvigoration of the entry-level course “Insects and People” (Entomology 101). By changing student evaluations in the course from a mid-term and final format to a weekly quiz and assignment format, he was able to unlock the world of insects for students who are nonscience majors.
Enrollment in the entomology course grew from 23 students in 1997, to 48 in 1998, to 176 in 2003.
His students, however, offer the best indication of Zack’s dedication and commitment as a teacher. “He truly loves what he teaches and this love is reflected in his style,” said one nominator. “His excitement for his work spread throughout the class and stimulated us to learn.”
He has been featured in a number of articles in WSU’s student newspaper, The Daily Evergreen, receiving its Matthew R. Weaver Distinguished Professor Award. His course “Insects and People” has been listed as one of the “must-take courses” at WSU.
Zack’s commitment to teaching extends beyond WSU. He has been an active participant in the Formal Teaching Conference of the Entomological Society of America.
An Ohio native, Zack began his career at WSU in a staff position in 1981 and moved to a faculty position in 1997. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University (1974), a master’s degree from Kent State (1976) and a doctorate from WSU (1982).