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2021 Great Teacher Award recipients announced

Six University of Kentucky educators were recently named recipients of the 60th annual UK Alumni Association 2021 Great Teacher Award.

The recipients are:

  • Christopher Crawford, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Physics & Astronomy 
  • Joseph Hammer, College of Education, Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology
  • Clark Kebodeaux, College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science
  • Chad Risko, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Chemistry
  • Wayne Sanderson, College of Agriculture, Food & Environment, Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering; College of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology
  • Kathy Swan, College of Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

The Great Teacher Award, started in 1961, is the longest-running University of Kentucky award recognizing teaching. In order to receive the award, educators must first be nominated by a student. The UK Alumni Association Awards Committee, in cooperation with the student organization Omicron Delta Kappa, then makes the final selection. Recipients will receive a stipend and be honored at a special recognition program later this year. In addition, they will be featured on the Association’s website and in the spring issue of Kentucky Alumni magazine. Recipients were notified of their award during surprise Zoom meetings during the fall and winter.

Here is a closer look at this year’s winners:

Christopher Crawford

Crawford is a professor and the director of Graduate Studies in the Physics & Astronomy Department, running one of the largest graduate programs on campus. He is a leading nuclear experimental physicist, a member of 10 national and international experimental collaborations and mentor to many UK students.

A native of Canada, Crawford earned a doctorate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and both a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University. His research focuses on neutron reactions including neutron decay, fusion and the search for a reaction mechanism responsible for depletion of the deadly antimatter present in the early universe. He invented a technique for designing precision electromagnets that are used to manipulate neutrons and is developing smart data collection systems to detect and identify the invisible particles present in his experiments. 


Joseph H. Hammer

Hammer is a licensed psychologist and associate professor of counseling psychology and director of training in the UK Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology. His research seeks to improve health by increasing access to health care, and he examines what helps or stops people from seeking mental health care when they need it. 

Originally from Chicago, Hammer earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, a master’s in counseling psychology at the University of Missouri and doctorate in counseling psychology at Iowa State University. Over his 10-year teaching career, he taught psychology students at the undergraduate (Iowa State University) and graduate level (UK). At UK, he teaches graduate students how to provide effective mental health services to diverse clientele. His courses include counseling techniques, counseling theories, counseling practicum and career counseling. He uses a flipped classroom design, where students learn the concepts in advance of class through readings and videos, allowing them to spend class time practicing putting the psychotherapy skills they are learning into practice.  


Clark Kebodeaux

Kebodeaux is a clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice and science. He graduated from the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy with a doctorate in pharmacy and completed a PGY1 community-based pharmacy residency at the UK College of Pharmacy. He practices in an interprofessional ambulatory clinic at the Bluegrass Community Health Center, an accredited Patient Centered Medical Home with a focus on diabetes, substance use disorders and underserved populations. He also serves as the residency program director for the PGY1 UK Community-Based Residency Program and preceptor for APPE and IPPE student pharmacist rotations. He received the Faculty Excellence Award from the St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 2015 and the 2017-2018 Michael J. Lach Award of Innovative Teaching at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy.   


Chad Risko

Risko is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry Department and uses creative teaching practices and techniques in the classroom, like all his fellow Great Teacher recipients.

Risko received his doctoral degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology and his bachelor’s degree at Baker University in Kansas. He has been at UK since 2014. Risko’s research blends principles from organic and physical chemistry, condensed-matter physics and materials science to develop theoretical materials chemistry approaches to better understand and design materials for advanced electronics and power generation and storage applications.

He was named a 2016 Emerging Investigator by the Journal of Materials Chemistry (Royal Society of Chemistry), received a 2018 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, was selected as a 2018 Cottrell Scholar (Research Corporation for Science Advancement, RCSA) and was a recipient of the 2019 UK College of Arts & Sciences Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentoring. He has approximately 7,500 citations and 140 publications.


Wayne Sanderson

Sanderson plays many roles at UK. He brings supervisory, administrative, research and teaching experience as the director of the Southeast Center for Agricultural Health and Injury Prevention. He is also a professor in the UK Department of Epidemiology, as well as the director of the Central Appalachian Regional Education Research Center, which provides graduate and continuing education and enhances the research skills of students and professionals in the occupational health and safety field. His role with these centers and his research focus is on occupational and environmental exposure assessment and associations with disease risks, with a particular focus on agricultural health and safety. For 42 years, he has designed and led research studies on occupational/environmental exposure risk and disease causation and prevention.

Sanderson earned his doctorate at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1997. He received a master’s degree from Central Missouri State University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri. Before coming to UK in 2009, he was a professor in the University of Iowa College of Public Health. He was also the director of the Industrial Hygiene Training Program for the Heartland Center for Occupational Health and Safety. From 1978 to 2002, Sanderson was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


Kathy Swan

Swan has been a professor in social studies education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction since 2004.

Swan earned her doctorate at the University of Virginia, a master’s degree in teaching from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree in economics at Mount St. Mary’s College. She co-chairs the graduate secondary social studies program and oversees the doctoral program in social studies education. Swan has been a four-time recipient of the National Technology Leadership Award in Social Studies Education and works extensively with museums and other educational institutions including the Smithsonian American History Museum, Smithsonian American Indian Museum, National Geographic, Library of Congress, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, where she consults on inquiry-based initiatives for teachers. She has written several books, including her latest, “Blueprinting an Inquiry-Based Curriculum: Planning with the Inquiry Design Model.” She is the co-creator and co-director of two websites, C3 Teachers and Making Inquiry Possible, where she facilitates networks of educators around the world who are helping social studies and civic education become relevant in K-12 schools.

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