Submit News Stories
Dr. Brian Myers has been appointed Chair of the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida, effective July 1, 2016. Dr. Myers replaces Dr. Ed Osborne, who will return to the faculty after serving as chair since January 1997.
Dr. Myers has been an agricultural education faculty member at the University of Florida since 2004 and has served as Associate Chair of the Department for the last seven years. He also recently held the position of Interim Associate Dean for Extension and
Program Leader, 4-H Youth Development for 15 months. Dr. Myers began his career as an agriculture teacher at Unity High School in Mendon, Illinois. He earned the B.S. degree (General Agriculture) and M.S. degree (Agricultural Education and Mechanization) from Southern Illinois University and the Ph.D. degree (Agricultural Education and Communication) from the University of Florida. The press release announcing Dr. Myers’ appointment can be found at http://news.ifas.ufl.edu/2016/05/myers-named-chair-of-ufifas-department-of-agricultural-education-and-communication/.
Congratulations Dr. Myers!
Dr. Robert Agunga was recognized as a Distinguished Undergraduate Research mentor (DURM) by the Undergraduate Research Office. He is a faculty member in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership.
This award, founded in 2007, is to recognize the clinical and research faculty, lecturers, post-doctoral researchers, and graduate students who also contribute extraordinary guidance to the undergraduate students who work with them.
To win this award, mentors must be nominated by undergraduates participating in the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum, and must demonstrate excellence in teaching and mentorship. A student committee reviews the nominations and selects winners each year.
Dr. Mark Brennan receives the Gamma Sigma Delta award for Outstanding Teaching.
Dr. Mark Brennan
Mark Brennan, Ph.D. is the UNESCO Chair for Community, Leadership, and Youth Development and Professor of Leadership and Community Development. He is one of only 19 UNESCO Chairs in the United States, the only one at a land grant institution and in College of Agriculture. This allows for unprecedented opportunities for the College to be globally at the forefront applied teaching and research. Dr. Brennan’s work focuses on the role of community and leadership development in global youth, community, and rural development.
Since 2009, he has taught 32 courses (24 undergraduate and 8 graduate). All courses have received exceptional student and peer evaluations, which place him in the elite of teaching faculty in his College and Department averages.
Dr. Brennan is very active in student mentorship. At the graduate level, he has served on 73 graduate student committees (Chairing 32 - 16 PhD and 16 MS). He currently advises over 30, Agricultural Sciences, AEE Leadership option, and the Leadership Development minor undergraduates. His work has resulted in over 120 publications in leading peer-reviewed journals, books, and outreach publications.
Dr. Jan Scholl receives the Gamma Sigma Delta Outstanding Extension Educator Award
Dr. Jan Scholl
Jan Scholl, Associate Professor, AESE, has been employed in Extension work for 40 years. She has written curriculum for 4-H members in family and consumer sciences, developed national 4-H and EFNEP web-sites, and contributed to the historical literature of Extension, 4-H and PEAFCS (Pennsylvania Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences).
Congratulations, Dr. Scholl!
Chelsi is serving as the department’s graduate assistant. Her responsibilities include assisting with planning the Student Teacher Conclave, co-advising the State FFA Finals steering committee, writing the department newsletter, and co-teaching Ag Ed 220. Chelsi is from Tipton and she recently completed her student teaching experience at Hilmar High School.
Dr. Daniel Foster has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 Roy C. Buck Faculty Award in the College of Agricultural Sciences for the publication "Preparing Agricultural Educators For The World: Describing Global Competency In Agricultural Teacher Candidates”.
The purpose of this award is to honor and recognize an untenured, tenure-track faculty member in the College of Agricultural Sciences, whose research involves the social or human sciences, for the best refereed article published in a scholarly journal in the previous two years.
The selection of the awardee was made by a committee appointed by the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, as dictated by the endowment guidelines.
We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Matt Sowcik will join the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida in May as an assistant professor of leadership education. Dr. Sowcik is currently a faculty member in leadership studies at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, where he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on a variety of leadership topics. He was appointed chair of the Entrepreneurship, Leadership, and Marketing Department in the Sidhu School of Business and Leadership at Wilkes last year after serving as Director of Leadership Studies for a number of years. Dr. Sowcik earned the B.A. degree in Psychology from Wilkes University, the M.A. degree in organizational leadership from Columbia, and the Ph.D. degree from Gonzaga University in leadership studies.
Please join us in welcoming Dr. Sowcik to the University of Florida!
By Morgan Marley
University of Arkansas Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology Associate Professor Leslie Edgar was recently promoted to assistant dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, and she continues to impact AECT students.
Edgar saw an opportunity in the promotion that will allow her to make an even bigger difference for AECT students’ educational experiences.
“My number one passion has always been working with students,” said Edgar. “I’m the type of person that if I see something that I don’t like, then I need to do something about it; you can’t gripe about a situation if you’re not willing to do something about it.”
Her experience working directly with students pushed her to look for ways that would reduce or eliminate barriers for them, said Edgar. Her new duties with the Bumpers College Honors Program and continued efforts in the International Programs Office inspire her to find ways to connect with students at a more intense level of education.
“It was a hard decision for me to leave (teaching),” said Edgar. “But I did keep my research appointment within our department. So, 25 percent of my appointment is still within the department and focused on research.”
Even though Edgar is no longer teaching classes, she is availableto students, specifically graduate students.
“In this position, I have three graduate students that I have
the opportunity to mentor,” said Edgar. “One is focused on general communications, one on honors and one on international programs. So I still get the opportunity to not only do research that adds value to our department, but also mentor three students who are earning master’s degrees in our department.”
Another opportunity Edgar has is working with faculty across the college. An international programs committee and an honors program committee, whic are comprised of one faculty member from each of the Bumpers College departments, guide these programs. Because of her experience working with faculty, she is able to connect students with faculty members to create a new learning experiences.
Edgar said, “With my relationship with Bumpers College faculty, I
have been able to connect students
to faculty mentors for either research or international interests. This has been a benefit for our students, and I am looking forward to continuing to work with both faculty and students in these endeavors.”
Two outstanding faculty members with Texas Tech’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources have been named Texas Tech Integrated Scholars by the university’s Office of the Provost. Scott Burris, an Associate Professor and Graduate Studies Coordinator with Tech’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communications and Cynthia McKenney, Associate Chair and Rockwell Endowed Professor of Horticulture with Tech’s Department of Plant and Soil Science, were recognized through the annual selection process.
“An Integrated Scholar at Texas Tech University is a faculty member who demonstrates significant accomplishments and effective synergy among the major professorial functions of teaching, research, and service,” said Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech Provost and Senior Vice President. “Each of these faculty members has infused the results of their scholarship and creative activity into the learning experiences they provide to students, and their service and engagement activities.”
This year, 40 applications or nominations for Integrated Scholars were received, and it was no easy task to narrow the field to this group of 11 finalists due to the overall quality of the applications, he said. Current CASNR faculty members who are Integrated Scholars include Peter Dotray, CASNR’s Leidigh Professor of Weed Science with a joint appointment at Texas A&M Agrilife Research and Extension Service; Cindy Akers, CASNR’s Associate Dean for Academic and Student Programs; Guy Loneragan, a Texas Tech veterinary epidemiologist and professor of food safety and public health; and Mindy Brashears, director of Texas Tech’s International Center for Food Industry Excellence.
McKenney is a nationally recognized professor of ornamental horticulture. Over the years her research efforts have focused on development and release of native plant varieties included in the Raider Wildflower Collection and water conserving landscape research. In the past, she has held a number of academic leadership positions, including serving as an undergraduate program coordinator, and greenhouse administrator at Tech. In 2010, she was named a professor of horticulture and distance education leader at Tech.
McKenney received her bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture and her Texas provisional secondary teaching certificate in broad field science from Tech. Her master’s degree in horticulture and doctorate in higher education administration are from Tech. Recent honors for McKenney include the CASNR Service/Outreach Award (2014); Lifetime Member Award from the Texas Nursery Landscape Association (2013); and the J.C. Miller Distinguished Educator Award, Southern Region-American Society for Horticulture Science (2010). She was inducted as a Fellow in the American Society of Horticultural Science (ASHS) and currently is the Vice President of the Education Division for ASHS.
Separately, Burris, a specialist in agricultural education, joined the Tech faculty in 2005 and currently serves as the department’s Student Teacher Coordinator. He earned a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary agriculture from Texas Tech, and master’s and doctorate degrees in agricultural education from the University of Missouri. He is known for his effective teaching at Tech and has received the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Semester Award from the college.
In addition, Burris is active in service roles. He is associate chair for Tech’s Institutional Review Board committee and is a member of the Texas FFA Board of directors. Awards for Burris include CASNR Teaching Award (2013); Professing Excellence Award (2013); President’s Excellence in Teaching Award; and Spencer A. Wells Faculty Award for Creativity in Teaching.
Written by Norman Martin
Shannon Arnold, associate professor in agricultural education, has won the President’s Award for Excellence in Service Learning. The award recognizes a faculty member and commu- nity partners who use a service learning activity to meet a community need. For this award, Ar- nold will receive $800.
To meet the need for increasing interest among youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, Arnold’s students collaborated with county 4-H leaders to design a STEM-based day camp. The goal of the camp was to foster the exploration of knowledge and research in STEM fields.
The camp was successfully held at MSU in 2015, with Arnold’s students teaching workshops to 4-H youth and leaders. Overall results of a post-workshop test showed that youth increased their knowledge, interest and career aspirations in STEM and natural resource concepts as a result of attending the camp. The largest increases were seen in the understanding of STEM concepts, interest in engineering and agriculture, the desire to pursue a career in a STEM- related field and in the awareness that STEM concepts are integrated into agriculture.
In her role as course instructor, Arnold was responsible for the design, collection and analysis of information from 4-H audiences and students. She secured workshop facilities and was re- sponsible for scheduling, student program development assistance, workshop instruction, 4-H participant travel arrangements, development of educational materials and oversight of the student project.
Community partners were Nikki Bailey, Carbon County 4-H; Christina McRae- Holland, Gallatin County 4-H Mentoring Partnership Program Coordinator; Kelton Jensen, Gallatin County 4-H; Lisa Terry, Stillwater County Family and Consumer Science; and other 4-H leaders in Gallatin, Stillwater and Carbon counties.