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USDA Announces National Teaching Awards for Food and Agricultural Sciences

Washington, D.C. – The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today honored four public university faculty with national teaching awards recognizing excellence in agricultural sciences teaching and student engagement. Jacquelyn Dee Mosley of the University of Arkansas and Shyam Nair of Sam Houston State University were named national recipients of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Excellence in College and University Teaching Awards for Food and Agricultural Sciences. Rebecca Baldwin of the University of Florida and Mary Kay Pohlschneider of the Ohio State University were named recipients in the national Teaching and Student Engagement category. The awards, which celebrate university faculty for their use of innovative teaching methods and service to students were presented as part of the 135th APLU Annual Meeting.

Six regional and two early-career awardees were also named recipients of the 2022 Excellence in College and University Teaching Awards for Food and Agricultural Sciences. In recognition of their scholarship, exemplary pedagogy, and dedication to instruction, the annual awards include stipends of $5,000 for the national winners and $2,000 for regional and early-career honorees to be used for improving teaching at their respective universities.

The six regional awards were presented to: Steven Johnson of the University of Florida, Cassandra Katherine Jones of Kansas State University, Courtney Alyssa Meyers of Texas Tech University, Chad Thomas Miller of Kansas State University, Haley Franks Oliver of Purdue University, and Heloisa Moreno Rutigliano of Utah State University.

Gerardo Nunez of the University of Florida and Mary Theresa Rodriguez of the Ohio State University each received best early-career teacher honors.

“We applaud this year’s winners of the Excellence in College and University Teaching Awards for Food and Agricultural Sciences,” said Wendy Fink, Executive Director of the Academic Programs Section at APLU. “Through their dedicated and focused passion in mentoring and instruction, they serve as inspirational leaders for their students and other faculty striving to serve their students better.”

Details on the 2022 recipients of the Teaching and Student Engagement and National Excellence in College and University Teaching Awards for Food and Agricultural Sciences:

Jacquelyn Dee Mosley, University of Arkansas
Recognized for her passion about implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion into her classrooms, Jacquelyn Mosley has been actively involved in promoting cultural competence teaching pedagogy in the state of Arkansas. Dr. Mosley is a Professor in the School of Human Environmental Sciences at the University of Arkansas. During her 12 years, she has taught 8 different classes, including 4 she developed and 2 for online education. After becoming a trained administrator in the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), she developed a new general education course for all of campus. She has established herself as the go to person for cultural competence training, assessing over 2,000 students, faculty, staff, and campus leaders in over 60 trainings across campus, as well as the leadership team of Tyson Foods and the Division of Agriculture.

Dr. Mosley’s excellence in teaching has been recognized with a national Cognella Innovation Teaching Award in Family Science, and both the University of Arkansas Teaching Academy New Fellow, and Jack G. Justus Award for Teaching Excellence in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. She has published over 50 research articles and secured over $2 million in funding support. Dr. Mosley is also the faculty mentor for the UA Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences.

Jacquelyn earned her bachelor’s (2003) in Psychology at the University of Northern Iowa, a Master of Science (2006) at Arizona State University and Ph.D. (2008) at Texas Tech University, both in Human Development and Family Sciences.

Shyam Nair, Sam Houston State University
Known for his passion for teaching and nurturing students, Dr. Nair provides a learning-centered educational environment where students connect concepts and tools with real-life applications. He seamlessly integrates teaching with undergraduate research so that his students gain deeper knowledge while simultaneously developing critical soft-skills, such as teamwork and communication. He inspires students not only to be successful in academics but also to excel as professionals, leaders, and contributing community members.

Dr. Nair is an Associate Professor of Agribusiness and the Assistant Chair of the School of Agricultural Sciences at Sam Houston State University. He is PI or Co-PI on grants in excess of $2.5 million that feature significant educational components, including recruiting, mentoring, and undergraduate research. He is a Fellow of the Texas Academic Leadership Academy and has served as Chair of the Educator Recognition Committee for the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) from 2019-2021. He also serves as Coordinator for Texas FFA Area and State Farm Business Management Career Development events.

Shyam has received a number of teaching and research awards, including the NACTA Teaching Award of Merit (2016), NACTA Educator Award (2017), SHSU College of Science and Engineering Technology Faculty Excellence in Research Award (2019), and Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award (2021).

Shyam earned his B.S. (Agriculture) and M.S. (Agronomy) from Kerala Agricultural University, India, and Ph.D. (Agricultural and Applied Economics) from Texas Tech University.

Details on the 2022 recipients of the National Teaching and Student Engagement awards:

Rebecca Baldwin, University of Florida
Rebecca Baldwin is an associate professor and undergraduate coordinator for the University of Florida Entomology and Nematology Department. During her career at the University of Florida, she has taught 11 undergraduate and graduate courses reaching 500-840 students each academic year. She has served or chaired 31 graduate committees and advises 60-90 undergraduate entomology majors and minors each semester. Rebecca serves as the faculty advisor for the undergraduate Entomology Club, the coach for the graduate Entomology Team and, through the Bugs and People course, has developed a mentoring program where students develop into peer leaders. Through the UF Preview orientation, she has had the opportunity to share the importance of communication to nearly 70,000 first-year students. Outside of the classroom, Rebecca uses insects to promote science communication and STEM initiatives through directing the Bug Club Entomology Education and Outreach Program through which she has developed the Entomology Field Camp (Bug Camp) and the Florida 4-H Insectathon. Rebecca’s teaching and extension has been recognized by UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the Florida Entomological Society, Florida 4-H, the Entomological Society of America Certification Board, and the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture.

Rebecca holds a Ph.D. from the University of Florida where her research program focuses on entomology education and integrated pest management (IPM) tools for crawling insect control. Using both informal and formal educational formats, Rebecca serves the industry by providing continuing education programs for educators, pest control operators, mosquito managers, and pest management associations. Rebecca is a Board Certified Urban and Industrial Entomologist and serves on the Entomological Society of America Education and Outreach Committee. Rebecca became interested in entomology as a child through the 4-H club in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, and went on to receive her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Biology from the University of Louisiana Monroe.

Mary Kay Pohlschneider, The Ohio State University
Mary Kay Pohlschneider is a Senior Lecturer at The Ohio State University in the Department of Food Science and Technology. She has been teaching, advising, and mentoring students for 14 years. Her Introductory Food Processing course allows her to welcome students into the department and connect with them through their mutual excitement about the science of food. This relationship continues throughout their time at OSU as Mary Kay serves as an undergraduate advisor for the Food Business Management and Culinary Science students as well as an ad hoc advisor for many Food Science students in her courses. After they have taken many more courses, students return to Mary Kay as she manages their internship credits.

Among the other courses Mary Kay teaches, she is well known for classes about caffeine, chocolate, kitchen basics, and food controversies. From these courses, she has had the opportunity to offer faculty programing in the OSU residence halls. She is an avid advocate for food science and often is found presenting demonstrations and hands-on activities for students of all ages at schools and 4-H clubs. Mary Kay coaches FFA students at her local high school in Food Science, Meat Science and Biotechnology.
Mary Kay earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Animal Sciences and Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology from Ohio State University, College of Food Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.

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