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Andrews among four UGA faculty members named Meigs Professors

Alan Flurry

The University of Georgia has honored four faculty members with its highest accolade for teaching, the Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professorship.

The Meigs Professorship underscores the university’s commitment to excellence in teaching, the value placed on student learning experiences and the central role instruction plays in the university’s mission.

The 2022-23 Meigs Professors are:

  • Tessa Andrews, associate professor of genetics in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Sonia Hernandez, professor with a joint appointment in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the department of population health in the College of Veterinary Medicine;
  • Maria Navarro, professor in the department of agricultural leadership, education, and communication in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, specializing in interdisciplinary education; and
  • Kimberly Skobba, associate professor of housing management and policy in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.


Tessa Andrews

Andrews uses evidence-based active learning techniques to engage biology students in developing scientific thinking and communication skills while building a deep understanding of the subject matter. In her classroom, students spend significant time working on problems and tasks in small, assigned groups—whether it’s a large class for non-science majors or a small upper-division course.

“I design this work specifically to challenge their thinking,” she said. “For example, I created and refined a set of tasks to help students overcome common misconceptions about natural selection and build scientifically accurate ideas. These tasks elicit student thinking through individual writing and then guide them to reconsider their thinking through discussion.”

In total, Andrews has taught more than 1,900 students since joining UGA’s faculty in 2013 and has mentored 40 undergraduate students as they perform independent research in her lab.

“The most valuable lesson I’ve learned from her was how to be an effective communicator, especially when explaining scientific concepts,” one former student wrote. “Dr. Andrews was the first and only teacher I’ve had who taught her students how to write articles geared toward educating the public. This was an important lesson for me because I aim to be involved in the medical field in the future, and it is crucial to know how to translate and communicate with patients and their families.”

Andrews is a recipient of the Morehead Honors College’s J. Hatten Howard III Award, which recognizes faculty members who exhibit special promise in teaching Honors courses early in their careers. She also received a Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2020. In addition, she is a Lilly Teaching Fellow and a Fellow for Innovative Teaching.

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Image: Photo of Tessa Andrews by Peter Frey/UGA

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