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University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Georgia Faculty Receives National Teacher Awards

November 10, 2013

Six Regional and Two New Teacher Awards also Announced

November 10, 2013—In celebration of scholarship, exemplary pedagogy and personal dedication, Tiffany Heng-Moss of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Michael Eugene Wetzstein of the University of Georgia and six regional and two new teachers were named the 2013 recipients of the National Teaching Awards For Food and Agriculture Sciences. The awards were presented today at the126th APLU Annual Meeting now underway in Washington, DC and honors university faculty for the use of innovative teaching methods and service to students.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and APLU, the annual awards include stipends of $5,000 for the national winners and $2,000 for regional and new teacher honorees to be used for improving teaching at their respective universities.

The six regional awards were given to John C. “Jack” Clausen of the University of Connecticut; Janice Jean Haggart of North Dakota State University; Soo-Yeun Lee of University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign; Jeffrey W. Savell of Texas A&M University; William J. Silvia of the University of Kentucky; and Brian Kent Warnick of Utah State University. Leslie Dawn Edgar of the University of Arkansas and David W.W. Jones of North Carolina State University each received best new teacher honors in agriculture science.

“When alumni recall their college days, they often think of teachers who had the biggest impact on them,” said Ian Maw, vice president of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources at APLU. “The teachers presented with these awards will be fondly remembered for their service to students, to the teaching profession, and to their chosen disciplines. The value of these teachers to their universities cannot be overstated.”

Since joining the University of Nebraska–Lincoln faculty in 2001, Heng-Moss has developed and taught both undergraduate and graduate courses and provided leadership for the development and implementation of the insect science bachelor’s degree program. One of her primary teaching responsibilities is an introductory insect biology course, which is taken by approximately 200 students per semester and was the first online concurrent course offered at UNL through the Advanced Scholars program.  Heng-Moss provides leadership for a university-wide agriculture and natural resources literacy program that seeks to integrate classroom instruction on food, energy, water, and sustainability within the UNL undergraduate curriculum, along with partnering with educational entities to map food, energy, and water programming with PK-12 next generation science standards. She played a pivotal role in the development of the first undergraduate online degree completion program at UNL and is making contributions to student learning and the quality of the student experience as a co-PI on a $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant.

To instill his love for economics in students, Wetzstein casts information in a form they are comfortable learning. In class, economic concepts and connections are presented by webbing a variety of learning forms—prose, graphics, and numerical examples. He believes that long after students have forgotten most of the specific content within a course, they will be left with positive impressions. Wetzstein’s current research emphasis is on food versus fuel security and associated climate change impacts. His recent research on biofuels policy influenced national policy toward developing a portfolio of fuels. His past research on integrated pest management was used in congressional hearings as the foundation for current and future funding. Other research discoveries led Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division to significantly improve their ability to accurately estimate water demand for policy analysis, poultry producers to improve their laying hen replacement decisions, and Georgia peach producers to geographically scatter their orchards. His research has resulted in numerous publications and the authoring of a microeconomics textbook.

Regional Teaching Award recipients:

  • John C. “Jack” Clausen, Professor, Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Connecticut, for leadership in delivering creative and accessible instructional programs and courses;
  • Janice Jean Haggart, Instructor, Veterinary and Microbiological Sciences, North Dakota State University, for going above and beyond to stimulate intellectual and personal growth in students;
  • Soo-Yeun Lee, Associate Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign, for utilizing myriad instructional approaches to promote student engagement;
  • Jeffrey W. Savell, Regents Professor and E.M. “Manny” Rosenthal Chairholder Holder of the Cintron University Professorship in Undergraduate Teaching Excellence, Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, for teaching and mentoring countless present and future leaders in academia, government, and industry;
  • William J. Silvia, Professor, Animal and Food Sciences, University of Kentucky, for adoption and development of innovative teaching methods and advising of students;
  • Brian Kent Warnick, Assistant Professor, Agricultural Systems Technology and Education, Utah State University, for mentoring and supervising more than 100 student teachers since arriving at USU.

The New Teacher Award recipients:

  • Leslie Dawn Edgar, Associate Professor, Agricultural and Extension Education, University of Arkansas, for contributing to curriculum improvement in the Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology;
  • David W.W. Jones, Associate Professor, Agricultural and Extension Education, North Carolina State University, for coursework that promotes and empowers students to serve the agriculture industry.

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