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    2015 Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award

    Thomas E. Kwasigroch, PhD, East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine (ETSU)

    Thomas E. Kwasigroch, PhD, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, is the most awarded faculty member at East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine (ETSU), having received more than 50 awards. 

    Since joining the ETSU faculty in 1979, Dr. Kwasigroch has taught and mentored thousands of students in their medicine and physical therapy careers. Graduating classes have selected him “hooder” 13 times, Professor of the Year 14 times, and Scarlet Sash recipient every year since the award was established in 2004. His course, The Human Body, has been awarded Course of the Year 11 times. Quillen College of Medicine awarded him the Outstanding Faculty Award in 1996 and the Deans Distinguished Teaching Award in the Basic Sciences in 1997. He is also a five-time recipient of the Gender Equity Award from the American Medical Women’s Association and was recognized nationally as a McCann Scholar for Excellence in Mentoring and Teaching in 2005. 

    Dr. Kwasigroch has cultivated a strong reputation for being on the leading edge of education. In 2012, as director of teaching programs in gross anatomy, he obtained iPad technology for each dissection table to integrate educational apps that maximize learning in the anatomy lab. He has hosted visitors from other schools seeking to gain insight into how they can adopt similar innovations. In 2013, he was the first at ETSU to flip the classroom to encourage active learning and enhance students’ ownership of their education. Dr. Kwasigroch and his colleagues are conducting research on innovative embalming procedures to provide more realistic learning experiences for continuing medical education programs.

    Dr. Kwasigroch is an advocate for students both in and out of the classroom. As associate dean for student affairs, he emphasizes all aspects of student health. He obtained spin bikes for Quillen and is a champion for the Professional and Academic Resource Center, which provides free, broad-spectrum counseling to students. His office established the “Quillen Showcase,” where medical students and faculty display their skills in arts and entertainment. He was the motivational force behind the construction of the Student Study Center, a modern, fully functional student learning center. 

    Dr. Kwasigroch served with the 6th Special Forces Group at Ft. Bragg, N.C., and as a first lieutenant, infantry platoon leader, company executive officer, and battalion liaison officer in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, and Army Commendation Medal. He received his PhD in anatomy and embryology from the University of Virginia and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Freie Universität-Berlin in Germany. 

    “Without question, Dr. Kwasigroch has diligently and faithfully served this school, this community, and his country,” says Robert T. Means, MD, dean of medicine at ETSU Quillen College of Medicine.