Colorado State University Veterinary Medicine Section Chief Earns Teaching Accolades

Dr. Robert Callan, an associate professor at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the section chief of livestock veterinary services at the college’s teaching hospital, has received the American Association of Veterinary Medicine Student Teaching Excellence Award in Clinical Sciences.

The award recognizes excellence, innovation and enthusiasm in clinical veterinary sciences and education. Callan was nominated by students for the award. A professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences, Callan is an expert in infectious diseases and immunity in livestock.

Callan teaches large animal veterinary courses and laboratories focused on clinical examination and diagnosis, interpreting diagnostic tests, anesthesia, surgery and infectious disease and immunology. He has adapted interactive lectures into teaching, providing students with virtual patients from which to diagnose specific problems, animated demonstrations of changes in the patient that point to specific ailments, and recordings of sounds from animals that can help diagnose heart and lung problems.

"This award was very humbling and inspiring for me," Callan said. "It made me reevaluate what teaching is all about and what seems to make a difference to the students. In the past, I thought of teaching as simply providing information and giving an exam to identify what information the students did not learn. For me, this has evolved to the realization that we are coaches for these students. It is our job to try to help identify students’ skill and knowledge and then assist each student to move forward to their next level of expertise."

Callan spends about half his time teaching, 20 percent on research and another 30 percent seeing patients. He is a member of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. He joined Colorado State University in 1996.