Han Zhang, M.D., professor of neurobiology and anatomy, is the 2016 recipient of the John H. Freeman Award for Faculty Teaching.
Chosen by the senior class, this is the fifth time Zhang has received the award, which is given annually to recognize the McGovern Medical School’s outstanding basic science faculty member. Recipients may not win the award in consecutive years.
“I’m excited,” he said. “I’m just as humble as my first time to win this award.”
Zhang said this award is reflective of the work of all of those who teach gross anatomy. Zhang teaches gross anatomy for both the medical and dental students as well as the fourth-year anatomy dissection elective.
“I think this award should belong to our teaching group. I cannot do it alone. I have strong support from the department and my teaching group. We work together,” he said.
Zhang came to McGovern Medical School as a visiting scientist from China in 1992 to pursue research with Dr. John Byrne, chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, and Dr. Len Cleary, senior lecturer in the department. He stayed as a postdoctoral fellow and was appointed to the position of lecturer in 2002.
Zhang is known for working every Saturday with students, always being available for questions, and helping students excel. “I teach every student as my important project,” he said.
“I like this school, and I like my students. Our school and our students are getting better and better – it’s easier to teach them because they are stronger and stronger students,” he added.
Zhang graduated from Yangzhou Medical School. In each year since 2001, he has won the Best Gross Anatomy Teacher Award and the Dean’s Teaching Excellence Award. He also was inducted into the Medical School’s Academy of Master Educators and is the recipient of a University of Texas System Board of Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.
The recipient of this award, which was established by university funds named in Freeman’s honor, must exemplify enthusiasm and drive toward effective teaching, have a personal interest in students’ problems and their educational goals, and set an example that serves as a high standard for students.
Previous winners include Chris MacKenzie, Ph.D., 2015; Dawnelle Schatte, M.D., 2014; Joanne Oakes, M.D., 2012; Elizabeth Hartwell, M.D., 2007; Zhang, 2013, 2010, 2008, 2006; Margaret O. Uthman, M.D., 2011, 2009, 2005, 2001, 1999, 1997; Kent Heck, M.D., 2004, 2002; Norman Weisbrodt, Ph.D., 2003; Barry Van Winkle, Ph.D., 2000, 1998; Marsha L. Eigenbrodt, M.D., M.P.H., 1996; Ron C. Philo, Ph.D., 1995; Harley D. Sybers, M.D., Ph.D., 1994, 1992, 1990; Frank W. Booth, M.D., 1993; and Karmen L. Schmidt, Ph.D., 1991.