Zach Woods recognized with Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

March 20, 2024
dean kroetz speaking beside zach woods

This story was originally published by the Office of Academic Affairs.

Zachary Woods, PharmD, BCACP, assistant professor of practice in the College of Pharmacy's Division of Pharmacy Education and Innovation, has been selected as a recipient of The Ohio State University’s 2024 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. Established during the 1959-1960 academic year, it is one of the university's most prestigious teaching awards.

“Innovation, creativity and student-centeredness are attributes that Zach brings to all of his teaching experiences,” wrote division chair Kristin Casper, PharmD, in her nomination. “He embodies the educational excellence and pedagogical innovation that are foundational tenants of our division and college.”

Dr. Woods’ selection was announced by Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Patrick Louchouarn during a faculty meeting surprise visit on March 18. Also offering their congratulations at the celebration were President and CEO of The Ohio State University Alumni Association Molly Ranz Calhoun, College of Pharmacy Dean Deanna Kroetz and Dr. Casper.

His nominators noted that Dr. Woods excels in creating engaging and interactive learning environments that foster student participation and understanding. Through innovative approaches such as review games and interactive projects, he ensures students are actively involved in their learning process, making complex material approachable and memorable.

“He is one of the most caring, kind, genuine and supportive professors I have ever met,” a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) candidate wrote in their nomination. “He has changed the lives of so many of his students.”

Dr. Woods has been recognized with two other notable teaching awards within the College of Pharmacy, the 2022 Award for Distinguished Teaching in Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences and the 2023 Miriam R. Balshone Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching in PharmD. Both awards were student-nominated and selected, underscoring his exceptional ability to connect with and positively impact students' learning experiences.

“Zach’s unparalleled passion and enthusiasm for teaching represent the best-in-class academics our Buckeye community is known for,” Calhoun said. “He inspires students and colleagues alike, and on behalf of the alumni association, I am thrilled to present him with this well-deserved award.”

zach woods on stage receiving a celebratory buckeye from molly ranz calhoun
The Ohio State University Alumni Association President and CEO Molly Ranz Calhoun hands Zachary Woods a celebratory Buckeye to observe his Alumni Award.

In addition to his work in the classroom, Dr. Woods serves as the faculty advisor for the PharmD Class of 2027, the GenerationRx student group, the Student National Pharmaceutical Association, and in 2020 and 2022, for the International Pharmacy Experience.

He actively participates in professional development through the Michael V. Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning. Further, he collaborates with multiple teaching teams to explore and implement the latest classroom practices alongside colleagues who embody cutting-edge, evidence-based pedagogy at both the local and national levels.

Dr. Woods was recently recognized nationally by his selection as a mentor for one of 20 PharmD students across the country selected by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) to participate in its inaugural year-long Aspiring Academics training program.

"Zach consistently meets students where they are,” Dean Kroetz said. “His engagement with students inside and outside the classroom highlights his dedication to creating a supportive learning environment where every student feels appreciated, nurturing the growth of our college's future healthcare professionals."

zach woods on stage with a crowd of students posing for photo
Zach Woods posing for a photo on stage with a crowd of pharmacy students

Dr. Woods is an active AACP member and holds an Ambulatory Care certification from the Board of Pharmacy Specialties. His teaching includes undergraduate and PharmD coursework focused on professionalism, patient advocacy and chronic disease management. He is co-chair of the PharmD admissions committee and is passionate about helping students find their professional pathway.

“Zach embodies the qualities of an exceptional educator: passion, innovation, accessibility and a genuine concern for student welfare,” Louchouarn said. “His tireless efforts have left an indelible mark on The Ohio State University community, making him a truly deserving recipient of the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. There is no better statement to recognize his impact than this quote from his students nominator: 'Every student at Ohio State University deserves to have at least one Dr. Woods in their lives, because of how truly amazing he is as a professor and how easily he can inspire students to reach their full potential.'"

Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching recipients are recognized with a $5,000 honorarium made possible by gifts from The Ohio State University Alumni Association, University Advancement and the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA). In addition, OAA awards an increase of $1,200 to each recipient’s base salary. Members are also inducted into Ohio State’s Academy of Teaching.

Annually, a maximum of 10 faculty members are selected for the award in recognition of teaching excellence. Full-time Ohio State faculty members on all campuses with the rank of instructor through full professor in the clinical or tenure track who, in the past three years, have taught undergraduate and/or graduate/professional students are eligible for this award.

Dr. Woods and other 2024 faculty award winners will be recognized on April 30 during the annual Faculty Awards Celebration.