South Dakota State professor Michael Gonda wins national teaching award


BROOKINGS — Michael Gonda, a professor in South Dakota State University's Department of Animal Science, has been awarded the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s National Award for Excellence in college and university teaching in food and agricultural sciences for 2023.    “I am honored and humbled to receive this award," Gonda said. "Although these awards are given to individuals, I wouldn’t have received it without the constant support of my colleagues, SDSU administration and especially my students. I care very much about the students we teach so receiving this award is very meaningful to me.”   Gonda has been with SDSU since 2008 and teaches courses in livestock breeding and genetics. His teaching responsibilities allow him the opportunity to interact with a wide range of students, from freshmen to veterinary students.    He is a proponent of undergraduate research and encourages students to become involved in research projects. He has also led multiple study abroad programs to several different countries, the latest of which occurred in the spring 2023, when students traveled to South Africa to learn about the country's agricultural practices as well as its culture and history. 

  "Innovative methods, student engagement and creating an appreciation for diversity are key aspects of Dr. Gonda's approach to student learning," said Joseph Cassady, the South Dakota Corn Endowed Dean of SDSU's College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. "He has made a dedicated effort to continually improve his teaching methods, and the students' learning outcomes."   At SDSU, Gonda has been recognized for his teaching and advising, having been awarded the Edward Patrick Hogan Award for Excellence in Teaching (2022), the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Teacher of the Year (2018), and the Tim Nichols Excellence in Undergraduate Advising Award (2016). He also serves as the chair of the Animal Science Student Activities and Recognition Committee and advises or co-advises three student organizations.    “Teaching is more than just showing up to class, delivering your lecture, and going back to the office," Gonda said. "Some of the most impactful work in education happens outside of the classroom. The work I’ve done with students outside of the classroom, such as advising student organizations, leading education abroad classes, and supporting undergraduate research, has been some of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had as an educator at SDSU.”  
Gonda earned his bachelor's degree from North Carolina State University and his master's and doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.    “We applaud the 2023 winners of the excellence in college and university teaching awards for food and agricultural sciences,” said Wendy Fink, executive director of the academic programs section at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. “Through their dedicated and focused passion in mentoring and instruction, they serve as inspirational leaders for their students and other faculty striving to serve their students better.”   Launched in 1992, USDA NIFA's awards program recognizes outstanding college professors in agriculture, natural resources, veterinary and human sciences. A selection committee of nationally recognized teachers and scholars chose two national recipients, two early career recipients and two teacher- and student-engagement recipients. The nominees are evaluated on their ability as instructors, educational innovation, service to students, professionalism and scholarship.