Faculty Recognized for Contributions to Teaching

Four faculty members recently were selected for the College of Pharmacy prestigious teaching awards.

Dr. Brian Seagraves, Academic Professional Associate, and Dr. Susan Smith, Clinical Associate Professor, are the recipients of the College’s Outstanding Teachers of the Year. They will receive an engraved memento, and their names will be included on the Outstanding Teaching Award Plaque in the lobby of the Robert C. Wilson Pharmacy Building.

Dr. Sharmon Osae, Clinical Assistant Professor at the Southwest Georgia Clinical Campus in Albany,  and Dr. Scott Pegan, Interim Associate Head in PBS and Director of the Center for Drug Discovery, have received Awards for Teaching Excellence. The pair will receive an engraved memento.

Well-known for his affinity for super heroes and a legendary fan-favorite among students, Dr. Seagraves received rave reviews in his nomination for the Teacher of the Year Award. Said Logan T. Smith, Class of 2023, in his letter of recommendation, “There is no doubt in my mind that I will be a better pharmacist thanks to Dr. Seagraves. He has encouraged me, pushed me to be my best, and helped me identify areas that I can improve. When I struggled to understand certain nuances of a clinical case, he reached out to me and helped me understand the less clear-cut components and showed me how to think ‘outside the box.’ He works tirelessly to improve his students personally, professionally, and intellectually, and I believe he succeeds beyond compare. No other individual has had nearly as strong an impact on my pharmacy journey as Dr. Seagraves has, and I will forever be grateful to him for that.”

Dr. Smith is passionate about improving the quality of care and clinical outcomes for critically ill patients, and she relentlessly shares this passion with her students. Peyton Moon, First Honor Graduate of the Class of 2021, labels Dr. Smith as one of her mentors and commented, “Last November, I was able to train under Dr. Smith’s guidance as I began my five-week rotation in the medical/surgical ICU. It was immediately evident that Dr. Smith had built a deep sense of trust and rapport with the providers on the unit. Her recommendations are consistently backed by clinical guidelines, and her expertise is valued by the entire medical team. In addition, she is extremely well-versed in the primary literature. Her instinct for teaching is evident not only with her pharmacy students, but also with the learners on the interprofessional team. She is an invaluable resource for the physicians, medical residents, nurses, pharmacists, and students with whom she works. Her commitment to evidence-based medicine is something I strive to emulate in my own career.”

Dr. Osae is enthusiastically embraced at all levels – from students, to residents, to colleagues, to medical directors, and even more. Kirbie Bostick, a resident in Albany, sent a heartfelt thank you note to Dr. Osae.  “Ever since ‘Day 1’ of residency, I never heard anyone mention your name without the word “awesome” in the same sentence.  They were definitely right.  You are awesome!  Thank you for being such a great preceptor and mentor during my first “real” rotation as a resident. I learned a great deal from you, and I hope that one day I can be as awesome and knowledgeable as you are.”  Brian Tran ’21 , added, “…saying Dr. Osae is simply an outstanding teacher is a massive understatement. She creates such an engaging and interactive learning environment to bring out the best in students. She always makes time outside of class to acts as a phenomenal mentor and contribute to the professional development of her learners, while also making time to emotionally support them. As a preceptor, she goes above and beyond to make sure all her students are given a skillset that can be utilized throughout their entire professional careers. In addition to all this, she is constantly developing new teaching methods, providing even more professional development opportunities to learners….”

Dr. Pegan’s influence is evident in the letters of recommendation that accompanied his nomination.  Mary Grace Johnson, a student in the undergraduate Pharmaceutical Science program, was eager to comment. “Dr. Pegan is dedicated and always eager to help the students around him succeed…. He is a leader, because he utilizes his outstanding work ethic to complete each of his assigned tasks and the many roles he juggles, including professor, Interim Associate Department Head for the Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Department, and Director of the Drug Discovery Center at UGA.  Dr. Pegan made time and had the skills to listen and counsel students in our class. He always responded to my emails within 24 hours and encouraged us to ask many questions. I was recently talking with a fellow UGA student who happens to know Dr. Pegan. They complimented his professionalism, intelligence, character, and work ethic. Dr. Pegan has clear goals to improve the professional needs of students. I am a witness to this every week when I work in his lab and gain valuable information about scientific research. It is truly enriching having the opportunity to be exposed to the scientific elegance and advancements present in his increasingly relevant lab environment.”

A committee of previous award winners, students from all levels of academic programming in the College, and one staff member who directly works to support teaching and learning in the College reviewed the dossiers of 11 nominated faculty members. Based on the submitted documentation, along with recommendation letters and other data on instruction, these individuals were selected. Award winners will be recognized formally at the College’s final Faculty Meeting in May and during the University’s Virtual Celebration of Academic Excellence. Congratulations to these deserving faculty members!