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USDA Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences

The USDA National Awards for Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences is sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and APLU. The program generates nominations from a large spectrum of departments in agriculture, natural resources, veterinary science, and human sciences. In addition to six regional awards, a selection committee of nationally recognized teachers and scholars chooses two national recipients and two new teacher awards. The nominees are evaluated on the basis of their ability as classroom teachers, use of innovative teaching methodology, service to students and their profession, and scholarship. Awards are announced each year at APLU's annual meeting held in November.

  • Levels of Awards 

    National
    A recipient selected from the pool of potential Regional award recipients, from any of the four regions, and deemed by the review panel to exhibit sustained, meritorious and exceptional teaching, as defined in this section. While a sustained pattern of exceptional activity is expected, this award does not recognize teaching longevity so much as it recognizes the quality of recent achievements involving teaching philosophy, methodology, and self-assessment aimed at improvement.  National recipients are also expected to demonstrate these attributes broadly within the academic community outside of the nominee’s home institution.

    Regional
    A teacher selected from any of the four regions, deemed by the review panel to exhibit sustained and meritorious teaching, and who has maintained at least eight consecutive years experience in higher education teaching, as defined in this section. While a sustained pattern of meritorious activity is expected, this award does not recognize teaching longevity so much as it recognizes the quality of recent achievements involving teaching philosophy, methodology, and self-assessment aimed at improvement.

    New Teacher
    A teacher selected from any of the four regions, who has demonstrated a commitment to a career in teaching and is deemed by the review panel to exhibit meritorious teaching, but who has no more than seven consecutive years experience in higher education teaching, as defined in this section. The “no more than seven consecutive years experience” should be limited to ranked faculty positions, and not include Teaching Assistant or instructor/lecturer positions.

    Teaching and Student Engagement 

    A teacher selected from any of the four regions who has more than seven years of experience in higher education teaching, as defined by this section, and is deemed by the review panel to exhibit meritorious teaching and significant levels of student engagement in formal and non-formal settings.  Individuals in this category would be those whose appointment is either entirely teaching and advising or has a very high teaching component (at least 75 percent) and for whom research responsibilities would be minimal.  Universities are likely to use differing terminology but Instructors, Lecturers, Professors of Practice or similar terminology may apply.  Some universities may use the conventional Professor rank names but the assignment would be very high in the teaching category.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

  • Past Winners and University Honor Roll 
  • Resources 
  • Teaching & Career Advice from Past Winners
    Advice for Early Career Faculty
    February 17th, 2022
    Panelists include:
    Dr. Pete Bettinger, University of Georgia (Regional Award 2021)
    Dr. Kathrin Dunlap, Texas A&M University (Regional Award 2021)
    Dr. Suzanne Gray, Ohio State University (Early Career Award 2020)
    Dr. Gulnihal “Rose” Ozbay, Delaware State University (Regional Award 2020)

    Sharing Effective Practices
    February 15th, 2022
    Panelists include:
    Dr. Wyatt Hoback, Oklahoma State University (Teaching and Student Engagement Award 2020)
    Dr. Beatrix Haggard, Oklahoma State University (Early Career Award 2021)
    Dr. Brian Whitaker, University of Findlay (Regional Award 2020)
    Dr. Gulnihal “Rose” Ozbay, Delaware State University (Regional Award 2020)
    Dr. Linda Yarrow, Kansas State University (Regional Award 2021)

    Determining and Communicating Teaching Impact and Effectiveness
    February 7th, 2022
    Panelists include:
    Dr. Liz Flaherty, Purdue University (National Award 2020)
    Dr. Jamie Loizzo, University of Florida (Early Career Award 2021)
    Dr. Kathrin Dunlap, Texas A&M University (Regional Award 2021)
    Dr. Gulnihal “Rose” Ozbay, Delaware State University (Regional Award 2020)

Members in the Spotlight