Graduate Education

Teaching Spotlight

The Office of Research and Graduate Education is highlighting faculty within the HSC who are dedicated to excellence in teaching.

Dr. Mark Paternostro

A Professor in Physiology and Pharmacology, Dr. Paternostro cares about his students and attempts to make the learning experience as personal as possible. Per one student: “He ensures that each assignment or in-class activity is pertinent to the goals and outcomes of the lecture, and provides ample opportunity for constructive student/instructor self-assessment and feedback. As an educator, he is well-prepared, intelligent, and committed to continual self-improvement for the betterment of his students' educational experiences.”

Dr. Bill Stauber

According to his students, his superb organization makes learning easier, especially in this era of COVID-19. One student comments, “Dr. Stauber is a very good teacher and his lectures are very detailed. His notes are really well written and his lectures are very nicely organized. Outside the classroom, Dr. Stauber is very helpful and helped to make the Prelims examination easy for us in an online setup.”

Dr. Stan Hileman

The current pandemic has demanded that educators become creative now that many students must rely on remote learning. According to student Nairrita Majumder, Dr. Hileman made this transition an easier one for students. “Stan is an excellent teacher and a great program director. He is always available for help. He is very caring towards the graduate students, and always reached out to us during the lockdown to make sure we were doing fine.”

Dr. Karen Woodfork

Karen made the transition to online learning during the pandemic a breeze for her students: “Karen has been a great help during our Prelims examinations. She helped us to go through the exam online, which was a new thing for all of us. We didn't have to worry about all of that and she took care of everything”, said one grateful student.

Dr. Ruchi Bhandari

Assistant Professor in Epidemiology. Ruchi’s interest in her students’ success continues once they leave her classroom. One student says, “Dr. Bhandari really cares about her students. She goes above and beyond to help her students even after they have completed her course. She checks in with us to see how we are doing with our research and is always available to provide advice and guidance to her students. In her courses she thoroughly covers materials and provides additional sources for us. She encourages discussions and debates about topics and is always saying she is learning from her students as well. WVU needs more instructors like her.”

Dr. Danielle Davidov

Assistant Professor in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Danielle goes out of her way to make sure students feel comfortable. One student says, “Dr. Davidov goes above and beyond to help her students. When I first arrived at WVU she was so welcoming and helpful. Since then, she has been my teacher and my mentor. I do not think I could have made it through this spring semester without her.”

Dr. Roger Carpenter

Associate Professor in the School of Nursing. Roger’s enthusiasm encourages students to seek his guidance. One student says, “Dr. Carpenter is a highly energized instructor. He is passionate about nursing science and totally engaged with his students. He understands the pressures that come with being a student and guides me in my journey through his course. He focuses on helping me learn the material that is important for me to succeed. He also directs me to references he knows I will use throughout my scholarly career. He has taught me the value of finding my own mentor by sharing stories of the mentors he has found.”

Dr. Jarena Kelly

An Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing, Dr. Kelly's encouragement and responsiveness are deeply appreciated by her students. One student says, “I really have to say I love Dr. Jarena Kelly at the School of Nursing. She is so kind, so approachable and so knowledgeable. If I have a question, I don't feel worried about emailing her or calling her. She always gets back to me. She is personable and professional. You just don't find that combination very often. Our school is very blessed to have her and I just want to say THANK YOU!”

Dr. Angel Smothers

A Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing, Dr. Smothers' dedication inspires her students. According to Elizabeth Morrissey, “Angel Smothers is the most engaged research mentor and instructor I have ever had. She’s mentored me in community health nursing during my undergraduate and challenged me to become involved in community research in the faith community. Without Angel, I would not be the student, nurse, researcher, or person that I am today. She never settles for average and will help anyone and everyone receive access to care regardless of their location or situation.”

Dr. Laurie Theeke

Director of the PhD program in the School of Nursing, Dr. Theeke makes every effort to help her students succeed. Student Stacy Russell says, “Through my experience as a PhD student I have had many personal obstacles. Dr. Theeke has gone above and beyond to be helpful and understanding and has guided me throughout the program with patience and integrity! As my mentor, she encompasses what it is to be a teacher and researcher and I look up to her! She deserves many kudos for going above and beyond the call!”

Dr. Paul Lockman

Dr. Paul Lockman, Assistant Vice President of Experimental Therapeutics at the HSC, and Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Research and Strategic Initiatives in the School of Pharmacy, like many of our other outstanding educators, has creatively managed the challenges of the pandemic while helping his students. One student says, “He encourages learning even during COVID by providing opportunities through access to seminars or organizing Zoom discussions with scientists from the industry or other labs and universities. He makes sure to check in with us to see if we are doing well even outside of the lab and is always available to provide advice and guidance.”

Dr. Vince Setola

Dr. Vince Setola, Assistant Professor, PI/Director - Laboratory of Neuroscience and Genetics of Substance Abuse. Student Lyn Yuen Choo tells our office that Dr. Setola cares deeply about the learning experience of his students, looks after their well-being, and gently pushes them to reach their full potential. She also says, “As an educator, he has very clear expectations for his students and supports their learning goals. He asks questions to facilitate discussion among research group members. Dr. Setola is always available to his students as well. He responds to emails promptly after hours and even on weekends.”

Dr. Caroline Groth

Dr. Caroline Groth, Assistant Professor, Biostatistics in the School of Public Health. Student Brittany Smith tells our office that Dr. Groth’s exceptional approach to teaching hasn’t suffered at all during the pandemic: “Despite being in the midst of a pandemic she went above and beyond to connect with her students. She is always available! Biostatistics and R programming are complex concepts, however, Dr. Groth explains each step and concept clearly to make sure her students understand the foundations.”

Dr. Kesheng Wang

Dr. Kesheng Wang, Associate Professor, Family/Community Health Department. One student told our office, “Dr. Wang is knowledgeable, attentive to students, helpful and kind. He is a great representation of WVU excellence of teaching.”

Dr. Peter Mathers

Dr. Peter Mathers, Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Neuroscience. One student told our office that Dr. Mathers provides excellent teaching and encourages student engagement.

Dr. Scott Galster

Dr. Scott Galster, Director of Human Performance and Professor in Neuroscience. Student Lauren Rentz said, “Dr. Galster is very supportive and encouraging, but what makes him such a great mentor is his flexibility in teaching styles. He acknowledges that teaching is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach and adapts his mentoring methods based upon the specific needs of the student. He is one of the few that encouraged me to use my untraditional learning styles to my advantage.”

Nicole Ludwig

Nicole Ludwig, Assistant Professor in Human Performance. Student Julia Hays said, “During a year marked by unprecedented times, Professor Ludwig has offered consistency, stability, and support. As part of a new program in brand new global circumstances, she has proven to be an incredibly dedicated instructor and ally to all students. Not only is she incredibly organized, but she is also adaptable and uses our feedback to help improve our learning. The discipline and care that she puts into our education and into us as individuals is invaluable.”