- Maik Huttemann, Ph.D.
A Wayne State University School of Medicine faculty member has been recognized for his instructing talents with the 2012 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Maik Huttemann, Ph.D., associate professor of Molecular Medicine and Genetics and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, was among the 10 WSU instructors to win the award this year.
The award recognizes faculty who have made outstanding contributions to teaching. Winners demonstrate, to an exceptionally high degree, comprehensive knowledge of their subject, superior classroom performance and high educational standards. They generate enthusiasm and respect for learning, motivate students to excel and are accessible to students.
Dr. Huttemann received a citation and $2,500 cash award.
“I am truly honored to receive this prestigious award and look forward to many more years of active teaching and, equally important, active learning from the students and trainees,” said Dr. Huttemann, who began teaching courses at WSU in 2004, two years after his first faculty appointment. “I consider student mentoring a very important part of my teaching activities.”
Prior to joining the School of Medicine faculty, Dr. Huttemann supervised master’s degree and doctoral students while working on his own doctorate degree at the University of Marburg in Germany in the late 1990s. At the School of Medicine, he instructs in Functional Genomics and Systems Biology, Advanced Human Genetics, Molecular Biology and Genetics and Molecular Basis of Mitochondrial Disease. He developed the Molecular Basis of Mitochondrial Disease course and serves as its director.
“I am particularly proud of it because it connects my own research area on the regulation of energy metabolism with numerous human diseases such as neurodegeneration, diabetes and cancer,” he said. “Mitochondrial dysfunction is increasingly recognized as a key factor of many human diseases, including the most common ones, and I am happy to take the students to the forefront of this field.”
Because he enjoys other teaching-related activities, Dr. Huttemann’s lab staff has conducted hands-on workshops at the School of Medicine’s annual Future Docs event for children since 2006.
“When teaching, one important point for me is to convey to the students that the material that we go through is relevant and interesting, and not just taking up memory space until the exam has passed,” he said of his instructing style. “I try to include real-life examples such as taking the students to the lab and showing them how an experiment is done. I always encourage students to actively participate in class. During seminar discussions I often bring several laser pointers, give them to the students and ask them to discuss certain subjects with me in front of the class. I have found that it often helps to hear something explained two different ways, for example, by me and a student, especially when the subject is complex.”