WSC Professor Mark Hammer earns Teaching Excellence Award

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Wayne State College has announced that Dr. Mark Hammer, professor of biology, was presented the State Nebraska Bank & Trust Teaching Excellence Award at the college’s May 7 commencement ceremony. 

Hammer has taught at Wayne State since 1996.

Matthew Ley, chief executive officer and trust officer of State Nebraska Bank & Trust in Wayne, presented the award during the undergraduate ceremony. This prestigious honor recognizes rigorous standards that require a superior level of effective teaching.

David Ley, the bank’s chairman of the board, established the award in 1998 as a way of recognizing and strengthening outstanding teaching at Wayne State College. State Nebraska Bank & Trust has served the Wayne community for more than 125 years and supports the college in many ways, including numerous scholarships, capital investments, employment of students, and service on the Wayne State Foundation Board of Trustees.

Hammer earned his Ph.D. in plant science from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville in 1992; his master’s degree in forestry from Clemson University in 1985; and his bachelor’s degree in forestry from Iowa State University in 1983. In addition to his work as a professor of biology at Wayne State, Hammer advises students who are interested in a career as a conservation biologist and students participating in the pre-Physician Assistant pathway in the Rural Health Opportunities Program (RHOP).

“I am especially honored to receive this Teaching Excellence Award from State Nebraska Bank and Wayne State College because of the College’s outstanding students, alumni, faculty, and staff,” Hammer said.

Hammer’s courses include Biology Concepts, Ecology, Experimental Plant Science, Great Plains Flora, Evolution, and Medical Terminology. His research interests include seed biology, seed dispersal, and prairie ecology.

He has been published widely in peer-reviewed publications, delivered multiple scholarly presentations at scientific meetings, and mentored many undergraduate research students. He is a board member of the Prairie Plains Resource Institute, past president and current board member of the Nebraska Native Plant Society, Environmental Sciences section chair of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, and past board member of the Nebraska Chapter of The Wildlife Society.

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