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

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.