Annually, Novus International, Inc. presents a top researcher educator with high honors during a banquet at the Poultry Science Association (PSA) Annual Meeting. With concerns about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the PSA meeting has moved online this week and the Novus Outstanding Teaching Award was presented via mail instead of in person to Douglas Korver, Ph.D.
Korver serves as a professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta in Canada. There he teaches introductory animal nutrition and an upper-year monogastric nutrition course at the undergraduate level and is a co-instructor for a graduate-level course in advanced animal nutrition and metabolism. He regularly supervises undergraduate independent study courses and has won numerous awards at the University in recognition of his graduate and undergraduate teaching.
Korver said he originally wanted to be a veterinarian but switched to agriculture early in his education because he could see wider career opportunities in the industry. In the classroom he said it’s important that students see the practical side of what they are learning.
“I’ve always found the anti-nutritional factors and toxins section of my introductory animal nutrition course to be a lot of fun,” he said. “There are a lot of fascinating examples and stories that can be used to illustrate points and connect with the students. For example, the impact of ergot in the middle ages, examples of experiments that have gone wrong because of a mycotoxin, why egg whites are used in the wine industry (to precipitate tannins), my own consumption of radioactive tortillas as part of a human study to assess the effects of phytate on iron absorption. These are examples of how I can relate anti-nutritional factors in a unique way that not only helps the students to remember the facts but understand the implications beyond animal nutrition.”
In addition to practical research on feedstuff quality and dietary supplement evaluation in poultry diets, Korver’s work outside of the classroom focuses on nutrition-immune function interactions and bone biology in meat- and egg-type poultry. He has also conducted field research trials in commercial poultry facilities in Canada, Colombia and Ecuador.
Korver said that while his journey in the industry ultimately led him to education, students entering the field of animal agriculture have many diverse career opportunities to choose from.
“Animal agriculture involves the synthesis of many different disciplines, including, biochemistry, genetics, psychology, physiology, and many more. There is a huge variety of potential careers available to our agriculture grads, and there is a real opportunity to have a positive effect on society,” he said.
In fact, Korver has continued to make opportunities to engage with the industry outside of his teaching and research. In 2016, he spent a six-month sabbatical in Colombia working with a major broiler integrator. He is also currently part of the National Research Council’s committee to revise and update the 1994 Nutrient Requirements of Poultry.
Selected by a PSA committee, the Novus Outstanding Teaching Award is presented to a PSA member who has demonstrated outstanding success in the classroom as well as a dedication to professional improvement. Novus is a Gold Sponsor of the PSA annual meeting.
PSA is a professional organization consisting of educators, scientists, extension specialists, industry researchers, administrators, producers, and college students who are committed to advancing the poultry industry. Founded in 1908, PSA’s member scientists have contributed through their research to the development of safer and more nutritious food product. For more information about PSA, visit www.poultryscience.org.