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Dr. Andrews Awarded Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professorship


The University of Georgia has honored Dr. Tessa Andrews among four faculty members with its highest accolade for teaching, the Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professorship.

Andrews uses evidence-based active learning techniques to engage biology students in developing scientific thinking and communication skills while building a deep understanding of the subject matter. In her classroom, students spend significant time working on problems and tasks in small, assigned groups—whether it’s a large class for non-science majors or a small upper-division course.

“I design this work specifically to challenge their thinking,” she said. “For example, I created and refined a set of tasks to help students overcome common misconceptions about natural selection and build scientifically accurate ideas. These tasks elicit student thinking through individual writing and then guide them to reconsider their thinking through discussion.”

In total, Andrews has taught more than 1,900 students since joining UGA’s faculty in 2013 and has mentored 40 undergraduate students as they perform independent research in her lab.

“The most valuable lesson I’ve learned from her was how to be an effective communicator, especially when explaining scientific concepts,” one former student wrote. “Dr. Andrews was the first and only teacher I’ve had who taught her students how to write articles geared toward educating the public. This was an important lesson for me because I aim to be involved in the medical field in the future, and it is crucial to know how to translate and communicate with patients and their families.”

Andrews is a recipient of the Morehead Honors College’s J. Hatten Howard III Award, which recognizes faculty members who exhibit special promise in teaching Honors courses early in their careers. She also received a Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2020. In addition, she is a Lilly Teaching Fellow and a Fellow for Innovative Teaching.

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Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, Ph.D. (2012) Montana State University

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