Professional News

The 2024-25 Outstanding Teaching Awards: Kristine Urschel

Kristine Urschel
Kristine Urschel, Ph.D., in the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is one of the nine 2024-25 Outstanding Teaching Award winners. Carter Skaggs | UK Photo

Each Wednesday, UKNow is highlighting one of the winners of the University of Kentucky’s 2024-25 Outstanding Teaching Awards, given by the Office for Faculty Advancement with the Office of the Provost.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 5, 2024) — Kristine Urschel, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Animal and Food Science and assistant dean for instruction in the University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is one of nine recipients of the University of Kentucky’s 2024-25 Outstanding Teaching Awards.

These awards identify and recognize individuals who demonstrate special dedication to student achievement and who are successful in their teaching. Recipients were selected via nomination and reviewed by a selection committee based in the UK Provost’s Office for Faculty Advancement and the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching. Urschel is one of three Category 1 winners, which includes regular and special title series faculty members. 

“Teaching and teaching related activities are the parts of my job that I am the most passionate about and so it is a huge honor to be recognized with a 2024 Outstanding Teaching Award,” Urschel said. “I am very grateful for this recognition and it provides me with additional motivation to continue striving for excellence in teaching. Over the last many years, I have worked very hard to create a supportive and enriching environment for students to grow academically, and this award really is validation of my efforts to create meaningful learning experiences for my students.”

Since joining UK in 2008, Urschel has been the primary instructor of four different undergraduate courses and one graduate course. Over the past six years, she has advised around 50 students annually, and mentored more than 40 students in independent studies and more than 20 student workers in her research lab. She has also been the primary advisor for nine graduate students and has served on the advisory committee of 18 others. Her graduate student trainees have been recognized with institutional, national and international awards related to their thesis/dissertation research and have published peer-reviewed manuscripts as the first authors. According to her nomination letter, all her trainees are currently employed in careers directly related to their graduate training, spanning academia, nutritional consulting and technical sales.

Urschel says working with students from a variety of different majors and with a diversity of career aspirations has been a privilege.

“One of the things that I am the most proud of with my teaching is my ability to make my course material relatable and then watching students make connections between classroom concepts and real-life relevance,” she said. “As an instructor of animal physiology, I am able to cater to the diversity of interests of my students, many of whom aspire to careers in veterinary medicine or have an affinity for animals through personal experiences such as pet ownership, livestock management or being involved in the horse industry. Even for those students who are not directly pursuing an animal-related career, the concepts of animal physiology are fairly universal and largely extend to the human body and so there is always something that my students are able to relate to.”

In his nomination letter for Urschel, Scott Radcliffe, Ph.D., chair of the department, said Urschel believes in every student's potential and aims to provide tools for success through relevant content, clear communication and empowering course delivery.

“Dr. Urschel is an outstanding teacher who has worked tirelessly to improve the educational experience of the students that she teaches and advises and has shown an incredible level of commitment to professional development and teaching-related service,” he wrote. “She is a dedicated and passionate educator at UK committed to enhancing educational experiences of students at every phase of their academic journey for more than 15 years. Her influence on teaching has directly impacted over 1,500 students and has indirectly impacted the lives of thousands more.”


This year’s Outstanding Teaching Awards were given to six faculty and three graduate teaching assistants. Each winner received an award certificate, a commemorative engraved gift and a cash award in recognition of their teaching excellence at a campus ceremony on April 25. Read more here.

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