Holly Bender

DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVP (Clinical Pathology)
Morrill Professor
VET MED #2714
Education & Certifications  
  • Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Pathologists
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Clinical Pathology, Virginia Tech
  • Clinical Pathology Residency VMRCVM and the University of Georgia
  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University
  • Bachelor of Science, Microbiology, Michigan State University
Research Focus & Interests  

Dr. Holly Bender is dedicated to the improvement of higher education through faculty development, community building, software development, and scholarly research.  She brings together multidisciplinary teams of experts and students with a variety of unique skills and research practices, a shared vision, and a passion for education.  For over two decades, Holly led the research groups that designed, developed, and implemented an open-source cognitive tool named ThinkSpace and its predecessor, the Diagnostic Pathfinder.  The Pathfinder was used in 25 veterinary schools in the US, Canada, Australia, South America, and Europe.  With lessons learned in from the Pathfinder, Holly then partnered with her talented ThinkSpace team to grow and lead a 117 member faculty learning community to collaboratively design and create a set of problem-solving tools in ThinkSpace and its sister program, OpenTBL.  Both programs enable faculty in a wide range of disciplines to create complex, realistic problems for their students, support team-based learning exercises, critical thinking, and active learning.

ThinkSpace Faculty Learning Community members faculty, graduate students and postdocs from disciplines including dietetics, food science, veterinary medicine, animal science, human development, geology, education, physics, English, world languages, statistics, planning, journalism, and engineering.  She also partnered with three faculty members to lead and grow the 250 member ISU Team-Based Learning Faculty Learning community for creating and exchanging research-based best practices and scholarship.

Honors & Awards  


  • 2016 American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology (ASVCP) National Educator Award
  • 2011 ISU SCAVMA Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Clinical Sciences
  • 2009 William O. Reece Award for Outstanding Academic Advising
  • 2008 Norden Distinguished Teacher Award- Iowa State University CVM
  • 2007 Iowa State University Sesquicentennial Hubbard Award for Teaching Excellence
  • 2007 ISU SCAVMA Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Clinical Sciences
  • 2004 National Carl J. Norden-Pfizer Distinguished Teacher Award - Outstanding Veterinary Medical Educator of the Year
  • 2004 National SAVMA Teaching Excellence Award
  • 2004 Norden Distinguished Teacher Award- Iowa State University CVM
  • 2004 VEISHEA Faculty/Staff Member of the Year-ISU CVM
  • 2003 ISU SCAVMA Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Basic Sciences
  • 2002 VMRCVM Teacher of the Year Award, Class of 2004
  • 2002 XCaliber Award for Excellence in Teaching with Technology
  • 2002 Clifton Garvin Fellowship Award for Research Excellence
  • 2001 VMRCVM Teacher of the Year Award, Class of 2003
  • 2001 W.E. Wine Award for Teaching Excellence at Virginia Tech
  • 2000 VMRCVM Teaching Excellence Award
  • 2000 Virginia Tech Certificate of Teaching Excellence
  • 1999 VMRCVM Teacher of the Year Award, Class of 2001
  • 1997 VMRCVM Teacher of the Year Award, Class of 1999
  • 1996 Merck Creative Teaching Award
  • 1993 VMRCVM Teacher of the Year Award, Class of 1995
  • 1992 VMRCVM Teacher of the Year Award, Class of 1994
  • 1991 Merck Creative Teaching Award
  • 1991 Norden Distinguished Teacher Award VMRCVM
  • 1988 VMRCVM Teacher of the Year Award, Class of 1991
  • 1988 VMRCVM Teaching Excellence Award
  • 1985 VMRCVM Teacher of the Year Award, Class of 1988
  • 1984 Young Investigator Award, American Diabetes Association
  • 1983 VMRCVM Teacher of the Year Award, Class of 1986


  • 2019 Team Based Learning Collaborative (TBLC) Best Paper Award for Scholarship
  • 2018 Named an Iowa State University Morrill Professor
  • 2016 VeterinarianEdu.org's List of the Top 15 Most Influential Veterinarians
  • 2010 Marshal for ISU CVM Class of 2010 Graduation
  • Featured Speaker for Senior Banquet, Class of 2010
  • 2009 Marshal for ISU CVM Class of 2009 Graduation
  • 2007 Marshal for ISU CVM Class of 2007 Graduation
  • 2006 Fellowship, Wakonse Conference on College Teaching, Camp Miniwanca, MI
  • 2006 “Hooder” for ISU CVM Class of 2006 Graduation
  • 2005 Senate Resolution 29-recognition by the State of Iowa General Assembly for Teaching Excellence
  • 2005 “Hooder” for ISU CVM Class of 2005 Graduation
  • 2004 Marshal for ISU CVM Class of 2004 Graduation
  • 2001 Induction into the Academy of Teaching Excellence Virginia Tech

Associate Director, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) 2011-2019

Director of Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) and Graduate Student Teaching Certificate (GSTC) 2011-2019

Administrative leader of the ISU Team Based Learning Faculty Learning Community with faculty co-leader Lisa Orgler 2010-2015, Meghan Gillette 2015-2017 and Monica Lamm 2018-2019

Faculty Leader of the ThinkSpace/OpenTBL Faculty Learning Community 2011-2019

Member of the National Leadership team for the Center for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) 2012-2016

Co-Chair (with Dr. Elena Cotos) of the Taskforce to establish the ISU Center for Communication Excellence  2012


  • American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology (ASVCP) 1982-present
  • American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP) 1995-present
  • American Veterinary Medical Society (AVMA) 1979-present
  • Phi Zeta Veterinary Honor Society 1979-present, President of Chi chapter 1988-91
Selected Publications  

Clark, Michele, Laura Merrick, Jennifer Styron, Annetta Dolowitz, Cassandra Dorius, Kajal Madeka, Holly Bender, et al. 2018. "Off to On: Best Practices for Online Team-Based LearningTM." Teambasedlearning.org.

Rands ML, Bender H, Gillette MT, Orgler L. 2017. “The Role of Faculty Learning Communities in Supporting Team-Based Learning.” The Journal of Faculty Development 31 (3): 61–78.

Dorneich, M.C., Bickelhaupt, S., Dorius, C., Artz, G., Bender, H., Bestler, L., Caissie, B., Gahn, S., Jacobs, K., Lamm, M.H., Orgler, L., Rongerude, J., Smiley-Oyen, A., & Stone, R.T. (2016). "Measuring the Effectiveness of Team-Based Learning Outcomes in a Human Factors Course," Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting. Los Angeles, CA, 26-30 October.

Bender, Holly S. "Evidence-based Expertise Development: A Roundtable Discussion of Research-informed Best Educational Practices for Veterinary Pathology." 65th Annual Meeting of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Veterinary Clinical Pathologists (ACVP & ASVCP 2014).  Proceedings of a meeting held 8-12 November 2014. Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Pages 161-165. Keynote address, Education Session.

Danielson, JA, Preast,VA, Bender, HS, Hassall, L (2014). Is the effectiveness of lecture capture related to teaching approach or content type? Computers & Education 72, 121–131.

Dzikamunhenga RS, Wilberts B, Yaeger M, Burrough E, Hostetter J, Bender HS, Larson W, and R. Griffith RW (2013) Safety Evaluation of Lasalocid Use in Chinese Ring-Necked Pheasants (Phasianus colchicus). Avian Diseases: June 2013, Vol. 57, No. 2, pp. 188-191.

Bender HS, Danielson, JA. A Novel Educational Tool for Teaching Diagnostic Reasoning and Laboratory Data Interpretation to Veterinary (and Medical) Students. Clinics in Laboratory Medicine. 2011 Mar; 31(1): 201-215.

Sponseller BA, Strait E, Jergens A, Trujillo J, Harmon K, Koster L, Jenkins-Moore M, Killian M, Swenson S, Bender HS, Waller K, Miles K, Pearce T, Yoon KJ, and Nara P. Influenza A pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus infection in domestic cat. Emerg Infect Dis. 2010 Mar; 16(3):534-7.

Danielson, JA, Mills, EM, Vermeer, PJ, and Bender, HS (2008). The Diagnostic Pathfinder: Ten years of using technology to teach diagnostic problem solving In F. Columbus (Ed.), Educational Technology Research Advances: Nova Science Publishers

Danielson JA, Fales-Williams AJ, Sorden SD, Myers RK, Bender HS, Mills EM. Peer Assessment of a Final-Year Capstone Experience for Formative Evaluation of a Pathology Curriculum. J Vet Med Educ, September 2008; 35: 466 - 474.

Danielson J.A., Mills, E.M, Vermeer, P.J., Preast, V.A., Young, K.M., Christopher, M.M., George, J.W., Wood, D.R. and Bender, H.S. Characteristics of a Cognitive Tool that Helps Students Learn Diagnostic Problem Solving. Educational Technology Research and Development 55, 499-520, 2007.

Preast, V.A., Danielson, J.A., Bender, H.S. and Bousson, M.. Effectiveness of a computer-based tutorial for teaching how to make a blood smear. Vet Clin Pathol. 2007 Sep ;36 (3):245-52.

A Fales-Williams, JA Danielson, R Myers, S Sorden, HS Bender. The Case Correlation Assignment: Connecting Antemortem and Postmortem Data in the Senior Year at Iowa State University. J Vet Med Educ, Spring 2007; 34: 183 - 193.

Jared A. Danielson, Pamela J. Vermeer, Eric M. Mills and Holly S. Bender, 2007, "Teaching Diagnostic Problem Solving:  Principles Learned from Studies of the Diagnostic Pathfinder"

Danielson, J.A., Bender, H.S., Mills, E.M., Vermeer, P.J., Preast, V.A. (2004). "Helping Learners Gain Diagnostic Problem Solving Skills:  Specific Aspects of the Diagnostic Pathfinder Software Tied to Learning Outcomes."  In Proceedings of Selected Research and Development Papers Presented at the National Convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) (25th, Chicago, IL, October 19-23, 2004). Pages 233-244.

HS Bender, KM Young, JW George, MM Christopher, JA Danielson, PJ Vermeer, EM Mills, RD Wood, PD Pion, VA Preast, CB Andreasen, Implementation of the Diagnostic Pathfinder, an Internet-Based Tool to Teach Clinical Pathology in Diverse Educational Settings.  Conference Proceedings of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and the American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology 346-359, 2003.

Danielson JA, Bender HS, Mills EM, Vermeer PJ, Lockee BB: A Tool for Helping Veterinary Students Learn Diagnostic Problem Solving. Educational Technology Research and Development 52: 63-81, 2003

Bender HS, Lockee BB, Danielson JA, Mills EM, Boon GD, Burton JK, Vermeer PJ, Zimmerman KL, Hilmer KM: Mechanism-based diagnostic reasoning: thoughts on teaching introductory clinical pathology. Vet Clin Pathol 29: 77-83, 2000

Zimmerman KL, Bender HS, Boon GD, Prater MR, Thorn CE, Prater D, Robertson JL, Saunders GK, Sponenberg DP, Inzana KD, Lanz OI, Wright E: A comparison of the cytologic and histologic features of meningiomas in four dogs. Vet Clin Pathol 29: 29-34, 2000

BB Lockee, HS Bender, DI Bounous. Clinical Chemistry Through Distance Education: Resource Sharing for Effective Program Development. Spring 1999 Volume 25 (1) Journal of Veterinary Medical Education.