Robert E. Porter

Professor, Veterinary Population Medicine

Robert Porter, with lab coat and a plush rooster in the background, talks to the photographer.

Who would write poetry about pathology? Robert Porter's students did, and they found it an effective way to teach themselves about a major topic in gastrointestinal pathology.

Poetry isn't the only unconventional and interactive learning strategy Porter, a poultry expert, has introduced to his classes. Others include adapting electronic whiteboards to the pathology lecture room, modeling intestinal tract abnormalities by sculpting them in clay, and decorating lung-shaped cookies to model various pneumonias.

An inspiration to students and fellow faculty alike, Porter has created regional partnerships to provide poultry education and outreach to veterinary students and veterinarians from Minnesota and nearby states. Recognizing the need for expertise in the age of avian flu outbreaks and other threats, he organized a Poultry Medicine Clerkship for students. Also, with colleagues at four other Big Ten universities, he created a national Poultry Health Management School, now one of the nation's leading programs for poultry continuing education.

Our faculty would be amazed by the variety of methods used in grade schools to stimulate and engage the adolescent mind. This approach is equally important for the college student.

His formidable teaching in classrooms, labs, and field sites has earned Porter the admiration and devotion of his students.

"From day one of class, Dr. Porter made each student feel respected and valued as an individual," writes one veterinary student. "He has mastered the art of not only keeping students' attention during long hours of class, but sharing his knowledge in ways that can be understood by students with many different learning styles."