The Loser-Savkar Fellowship Committee recently announced that its first fellow will be Biology Professor Gillian S. Backus. The fellowship was established by husband and wife professors Robert Loser and Reva Savkar.
Backus teaches biology as well as anatomy and physiology at the Loudoun Campus. She requested support from the fellowship to attend the 2017 Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER) Summer Institute. In her proposal, she explained that the institute will help her improve her ideas and skills, gather new ones to help her understand the learning process and continue to network and collaborate with like-minded faculty.
According to Loser and Savkar, they received a number of truly amazing proposals from NOVA professors, and making a decision was not an easy task.
“Both Bob [Loser] and I feel very committed to our students. What we see is that we all know our areas as educators, but I know I didn’t have any training in how learning takes place,” Savkar said. “All of the applications we received were outstanding, so it wasn’t an easy decision. Backus’ proposal included a strong project and we wanted to support her in enhancing her understanding of learning so she can apply those ideas to her classroom.”
Loser said Backus has had several successful projects in the past. Her interest in attending the SENCER Summer Institute stood out to the committee because her interest in the opportunity showed she wanted to learn new methods and ideas in teaching and how her students can apply what they have learned in the classroom to real life.
Loser and Savkar established the Loser-Savkar Faculty Professional Development Fellowship in an effort to promote better faculty teaching and student learning. The fellowship will open a second round of applications later this semester.
The fellowship is one of four initiatives the couple has established through the Northern Virginia Community College Educational Foundation. The other programs are the Reva A. Savkar Excellence in Learning Scholarship, the Loser-Savkar PaTHS Scholarship and Anchored in Security, Hope and Acceptance (ASHA). For additional information about these initiatives, visit Loser and Savkar’s website.