Professional News

‘Great Teacher’ Wayne Sanderson Shares His Gift

Video by UK Public Relations and Strategic Communications, Marketing and Brand Strategy

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 6, 2021) — Six of the University of Kentucky’s passionate and accomplished educators were surprised earlier this spring by student nominators and the University of Kentucky Alumni Association as 2021 Great Teacher Award recipients.

Wayne Sanderson is one this year’s Great Teacher Award recipients. Sanderson knew at a young age that he had a gift, and that he wanted to be a mentor for the next generation.

“I knew at a young age that I was a good teacher. We’re lucky when we have a gift — it’s a sin not to use a gift that you’ve been given,” Sanderson shared. “I am very thankful to work with the collaborative faculty and amazing students we have at the University of Kentucky. Our alumni are our legacy and the best ambassadors for our training programs. I can’t wait to get to work each morning.”

Sanderson is a professor in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, director of the Southeast Center for Agricultural Health and Injury Prevention (SCAHIP), and director of the Central Appalachian Regional Education Research Center(CARERC).

His research focuses on occupational and environmental exposure assessment and associations with disease risks, with a particular focus on agricultural health and safety.

This particular honor is quite significant for Sanderson, given that the Great Teacher Awards are bestowed based on nominations submitted by students.

“It’s a big deal to me to win an award that’s student-nominated. It’s really very special — quite an honor,” Sanderson said.

Learn more about why this UK Alumni Association 2021 “Great Teacher” loves connecting with students to help them achieve what’s wildly possible both in their future careers and in life in the video above.

Sanderson is just one of the 2021 UK Alumni Association Great Teacher award winners. This summer, UKNow will highlight each of these Great Teachers. Watch their stories here.

Initiated in 1961, UK’s Great Teacher Award is the longest-running UK award recognizing teaching. In order to receive the award, educators must first be nominated by a student. The UK Alumni Association Great Teacher Award Committee, in cooperation with the student organization Omicron Delta Kappa, then makes the final selection. Recipients receive an engraved plaque and stipend.

Wayne Sanderson in background of classroom with two students
Wayne Sanderson in background of classroom with student

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.