Dr. Jaclyn Kropp, associate professor of Food and Resource Economics at the University of Florida, was recently recognized by the North American Colleges & Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) with the NACTA Educator Award at their 2023 annual conference.
This international award was designed to recognize those within the field of agricultural higher education for excellence in the classroom and efforts to create engaging and impactful course experiences for their students.
Kropp, who has been at UF since 2012, teaches two capstone courses and one master’s level course for our department and said she was honored to be recognized for her impact on students.
“While I have received several awards for research, this is the first international award that I received recognizing my teaching efforts in and out of the classroom,” Kropp said.
Dr. Kropp strives to set students up for career success by establishing a heavily applied curriculum that prepares them for the jobs they will take on in the future.
“The primary goal of my educational program is to prepare industry-ready graduates by equipping students with employability skills (ambiguity, conflict, change, and persistence) through real-world, hands-on, active-learning opportunities,” Kropp said. “To do so, I use a variety of activities and assessments to engage students in learning how to put skills they have acquired throughout the program to use.”
Her infectious passion for the topics also serves to promote engagement and higher-level thinking that allows the students to connect the topics they are studying to real-world problems and solutions.
“I love finance and economics! I get excited about these subjects and try to get students excited too,” Kropp said. “However, many students find economics and finance intimidating because of the mathematical complexity. Thus, I get students excited about economics and finance by showing them that economics and finance are part of everyday life and applicable to everyday decisions. My MS thesis advisor repeatedly warned, ‘There is a real-world out there.’ I find myself echoing this phrase to my own students. By linking concepts that seem abstract with real-world applications, I demonstrate that economics and finance are lenses for viewing the world and the keys to solving a variety of problems.”
While the lessons they learn from Dr. Kropp during their time in her classroom are invaluable, she said that the best part of her job is seeing what her students accomplish after their time with her has ended.
“The best part of teaching is seeing my students be successful,” Kropp said. “I love when current students share news about landing their dream job and when former students reach out to let me know how my course has helped them in their careers.”