Spectrum Logo
A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Marcy receives teaching award

By Stewart MacInnis

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 31 - May 9, 1996

One of Joseph Marcy's first jobs when he was appointed to the faculty in the Department of Food Science and Technology was to build the student ratings of the courses he taught.

Now, eight years later, his classes are among the most highly rated classes taught in the department, and Marcy has been awarded the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty teaching award. The award also gives Marcy a place in the college's Academy of Teaching Excellence.

Cameron Hackney, head of the food sciences department, said Marcy's teaching style combines experience, enthusiasm, caring, and instructional boldness. That style has resulted in his classes being sought out by non-food-science majors as well.

"He is constantly innovative in his teaching," Hackney says. "He has introduced new teaching techniques and new material in his undergraduate class and has developed a graduate food-packaging class. He is recognized by his peers as an excellent teacher and communicator."

Exit interviews with graduating seniors often mention Marcy as the best instructor, and he is often named as the most influential faculty member in their academic careers. His concern and assistance were often cited as reasons why students stayed in the department, and graduates say his instruction is the most beneficial to their current success in the food industry.

"Students often comment they have to work hard in these classes," Hackney says, "but they realize their effort is well spent."

Marcy earned bachelor's and master's degrees in food science and technology from the University of Tennessee, and earned his Ph.D. at North Carolina State University. He worked as an assistant professor of food processing at the University of Florida before taking a job with Rampart Packaging. He joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 1988.

Marcy is a mentor teacher to non-tenured faculty members, producing dramatic results in helping them raise their student evaluations well above the college average. He also conducts a research program that supports the department's graduate education program. Hackney said Marcy has been successful in obtaining outside funding, which he consistently uses to support graduate research assistants.

He was also instrumental in maintaining an effective outreach program to food processors following the elimination of a food-processing Extension position due to budget cuts.