Dr. Hu was presented with Association of Former Students College-Level Teaching Award by Dr. Allan Sams and Mr. Marty Holmes who attended the Biochemistry and Biophysics department faculty meeting on September 4, 2017. Dr. Hu has been a member of the department for 25 years and has been very innovative in his teaching career by developing courses that fit the needs of the current learning trend. One of the courses he recently developed is called CACAO (Community Assessment of Community Annotation). It teaches undergraduates to critically evaluate scientific literature by accurately annotating the functions of genes and proteins using a set of standardized terms. Dr. Hu made the exercise very exciting by having the students work together in small teams that compete to see who can produce the highest quantity and quality annotations. Furthermore, Dr. Hu exported the CACAO course to other universities, so that TAMU students compete with students at University College London, Swarthmore College, and many others. CACAO competitions have been held at 28 universities to date. The information collected by the teams are verified through peer-review by other teams and graduate student mentors. Verified annotations are added to publicity accessible databases, including one which Dr. Hu maintains as part of his research program.
Dr Hu’s nominator writes, “Dr. Hu’s focus on dedication to teaching sets a high bar for our department. His creative approach to teaching encourages others to think outside the box when designing courses that meld research and teaching. Dr. Hu has constantly sought to improve the curriculum in our department, and he is very active in sharing his approaches and learning from others at national teaching conferences. Dr. Hu not only fulfills the expectations of this award, but surpasses them through his efforts to innovate, rethink approaches, and connect with other professors in our department, throughout the university, across the country, and abroad.”
Dr. Hu will receive the official award during the 2017 Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Awards ceremony on September 20, 2017 at 3 p.m. at the The AgriLife Center. We look forward to celebrating with Dr. Hu who wholeheartedly deserves this recognition by helping our students with a better understanding of science and then launching our former students into science careers.