Dr. Dawn Holliday completed her Ph.D. in Biology in 2005 at Ohio University. Before coming to Westminster as Assistant Professor of Biology in 2011, she taught at Marshall University School of Medicine and at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is known for teaching two of the most popular and most difficult courses on campus, Anatomy and Physiology, and for overseeing Westminster’s Cadaver Lab.
“Dr. Holliday is very passionate about her teaching and ensures that no student has fallen behind,” says Spencer Smith ’15. “All of her lectures are very detailed and well organized — not to mention entertaining with her quick wit and whimsical sense of humor.”
She has received the highest awards given for teaching excellence, including the Junior Faculty Member of the Year in her division, the Patricia Klein Liebling Parents Association Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Alpha Chi Professor of the Year.
“She is a great educator who really loves her students and cares so much about them,” says Graeme Boyter ’15. “She really takes the time and effort to make sure that her students get the material.”
Dr. Holliday has served the College in a number of capacities, including as the co-advisor for the Pre-Healthcare Professionals Association, serving on the Faculty Executive Committee, and as a member of the Curriculum Review Task Force. Dr. Holliday specializes in terrapins, and she has several publications and presentations that have received national attention, in addition to serving on a research team that recently received a major grant for their terrapin research.
After graduating from Westminster in 2014, Leigh Ann Lutz began pursuing a Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies at Alderson Broaddus University. Below is an excerpt of an email Lutz shared with Holliday about her graduate school experience.
“The workload here is about 20 times more than I expected … and I thought I was expecting the worst. However, as I am trying to keep my head above water just like all of my other classmates, I find day after day that I have an advantage, and that is Westminster’s science department and having you as a teacher. I am by no means smarter than anyone here, but my classmates tend to flock to me in our gross anatomy lab (and probably get frustrated that I often set the curve on weekly anatomy and medical phys quizzes).
But honestly, the reason I understand what we’re being taught and can pick up on the information more quickly than others is because you taught in a way that made me understand and made it stick. I think about sitting in your classroom almost every day during some lecture here and I remember what you taught about the particular subject we’re learning that day. I can still see some of your slides in my head and many times I’ll come across a test question that looks exactly like something you asked on our anatomy or physiology exams.”
Dr. Holliday was awarded tenure by Westminster College in February of 2015.