November 2001

From Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech's Seiler receives USDA teaching award

BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 28, 2001 – John Seiler, professor of forestry at Virginia Tech, has received the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Agriculture Sciences' Excellence in Teaching award. Seiler was one of eight from across the nation.

A tree physiology and silviculture specialist, Seiler has academic interests in environmental-stress effects on woody plant physiology, including water and pollutant stresses, physiological responses to silvicultural treatments, and carbon sequestration (removing carbon from the atmosphere). His research interests includes characterization and modeling of seasonal gas exchange in fertilized loblolly pine plantations, development of innovative learning techniques in woody plant identification and forest biology, and quantifying carbon release rates in managed loblolly pine plantations.

Seiler has used computers and the Internet for enhancing educational opportunities for his students, including developing three Web sites, an electronic forest biology textbook, and two multimedia woody plant identification CDs. His two-CD set, Woody Plants in North America (Kendall/Hunt Publishing, 2000), was recently highlighted in the Chronicle of Higher Education and is being used by universities and individuals across North America.

Seiler has a distinguished history of teaching excellence. He has twice received the College of Natural Resources’ Curriculum Clubs’ Outstanding Faculty Award. In 1994, he received a University Certificate of Teaching Excellence, and in 1997 was honored with Virginia Tech’s William E. Wine Award for his commitment to instruction at the university. In 1998, the Society of American Foresters awarded him the nationally-recognized Carl Alwin Schenck Award for excellence in the field of forestry education and devotion to the art of teaching. In September, John Seiler, Jeffrey Kirwan, and John Peterson, all from the College of Natural Resources, received the Virginia Tech XCaliber Award in recognition of their teamwork in developing online, technologically integrated courses and supporting teaching aids.

University President Charles W. Steger said, "We were pleased to learn from the U.S.D.A. about this high honor recognizing John Seiler for his accomplishments and contributions to the university, and to forestry education." Gregory Brown, dean of the College of Natural Resources, noted that "because of his extraordinary teaching excellence over the years, John was recently named The Honorable and Mrs. Shelton H. Short Jr. Professor, following retirement of David Smith."

Harold Burkhart, University Distinguished Professor and forestry department head, added, "Professor Seiler exemplifies a faculty member who has committed himself to forestry education, and his classroom teaching abilities are unparalleled."

Seiler earned two B.S. degrees and a M.S. degree from Pennsylvania State University. He received his Ph.D. degree in tree physiology from Virginia Tech in 1984 before starting his faculty career in the College of Natural Resources as a post-doctoral research associate.

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