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Faculty Profile: Nancy Hudson

Distinguished Teaching Award Recipient is Ardent Advocate for Students

By Tamara Keith Public Affairs
posted September 9, 1998

Although Nancy Hudson is not a member of the tenure-track, Academic Senate faculty, she has clearly set herself apart from others standing at the front of Berkeley's classrooms.

A lecturer in and director of the dietetics program in the Department of Nutritional Sciences since 1992, she received this year's Distinguished Teaching Award from the College of Natural Resources.

"The award is not just for excellence in teaching, but for faculty who go above and beyond typical teaching duties," said Don Dahlsten, associate dean of instruction and student affairs in the college. "Hudson is known as an ardent advocate for her students. She went beyond just having her door always open; she carried out her mentoring role in a broader sense, often helping students land jobs."

The selection process for The Distinguished Teaching Award includes faculty review of course materials used by nominated teachers, student course evaluations, evaluations from the department chairs, letters of support from faculty colleagues as well as other supporting documents.

Although she splits her time on the job between administrative tasks and aca-demic work, Hudson still finds about 25 hours a week to help students personally. Beyond working with the students in her classes, Hudson officially advises 10 students per semester and unofficially helps countless others navigate their way toward a major or career in dietetics.

Through class participation with community organizations, hospitals and schools, Hudson introduces her students to career applications of the dietetics curriculum.

"In all of the courses I teach, the students are able to take what they're learning in the classroom and do something with it immediately," said Hudson.

For example, students in Hudson's Nutritional Sciences 301 seminar learn about the keys to good communication in the classroom and then use their new knowledge to interview and counsel clients in a local nutrition program for the elderly.

Other class projects include teaching Berkeley elementary school children about good nutrition, planning menus for Meals on Wheels and developing recipes for campus dining.

"We do all kinds of interesting things in the community because we are a professional program," said Hudson.

As a "professional program," dietetics at Berkeley serves as a dress rehearsal for working in the field, placing students on a clear professional track. Following undergraduate commencement, each student is required to participate in a dietetic internship (minimum 900 hours). When the internship is completed, students take a certification exam and then become registered dietitians who can go straight into the practice.

"Because of the nature of the program I can make each course entirely different," said Hudson. "I can use all types of teaching methods so I don't get bored, and neither do my students."

Hudson's classes encourage practical use of book knowledge. "I encourage (my students) to stretch, I make them verbalize, I guide them in solving problems, and I help them to use the knowledge they get at Berkeley," said Hudson. "They get to practice what they learn in a really safe environment, where they're allowed to make mistakes."


Principles of Good Nutrition

ADEQUACY - Eat what you need every day: 6-11 servings of grains and cereals, at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2-3 servings of protein foods, and 2-3 servings of dairy foods. Serving sizes vary depending on the type of food. Consult the following web site for a list of standard serving sizes:

BALANCE - The nutrients that you consume should be in the correct proportions. Don't rely heavily on one type of food (like carbohydrates) while entirely avoiding others (like fats).

CALORIC CONTROL - Keep an equilibrium between calorie intake and energy expenditure. Your weight will remain stable when the two are in balance. Exercise is vital to good health. The more active you are, the more you can eat and the more likely you are to be able to eat an adequate diet.

NUTRIENT DENSITY - Eat nutrient-rich foods such as whole grain cereals, fruits and vegetables, dried beans, fish, and nonfat milk.

MODERATION - Eat when you are hungry, and stop when you are satisfied.

VARIETY - Over-reliance on just a few foods can (and does) create nutritional problems. Eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods.

Most importantly, eating should be a pleasure, not a chore, duty, or a punishment. Bon appetit!

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