UF CALS students, faculty shine at annual teaching conference

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences students and faculty were recognized for their outstanding teaching and research at the 62nd annual North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) conference in June.

More than 25 UF CALS faculty, staff and graduate students attended the meeting, said CALS Dean Elaine Turner. CALS is part of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Many UF CALS faculty and students contributed to the NACTA program with posters, oral presentations and workshops.

“The NACTA annual conference is a showcase for innovation and excellence in teaching and learning,” Turner said. “I am so proud of the UF/IFAS faculty and CALS graduate students who were recognized with teaching, leadership and scholarship awards this year. The constant pursuit of excellence in teaching is a key part of what makes CALS such a great academic home for students.”

At the June 24 awards banquet, the following faculty and graduate students were recognized:

Murray Brown Leadership Award, which recognizes a distinguished and sustained record of NACTA leadership:


  • Kirby Barrick, professor of agricultural education and communication.


NACTA Teaching Scholar, presented to a maximum of 1 percent of NACTA members, and shows a heavier commitment to NACTA since earning the NACTA Educator Award:


  • Wendy Dahl, associate professor of food science and human nutrition.
  • Brian Myers, professor of agricultural education and communication.


NACTA Educator Award, which recognizes those whose efforts represent the very best in agricultural higher education:


  • Damian Adams, assistant professor of forest resources and conservation.
  • Monika Oli, lecturer in microbiology and cell science.
  • Brantlee Spakes-Richter, lecturer in plant pathology.
  • Jianping Wang, assistant professor of agronomy.


Graduate Student Teaching Award, which recognizes graduate students for their classroom teaching excellence, and winners must have taught for at least one year:


  • Caitlin Bletscher, agricultural education and communication.
  • R.G. (Tre) Easterly III, agricultural education and communication; now an assistant professor at New Mexico State University.
  • Arthur Leal, agricultural education and communication; now an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee.
  • Jera Niewoehner, agricultural education and communication.
  • Eric Stubbs, agricultural education and communication.


E.B. Knight Journal Award; peers vote on the top scholarly journal article of the year for this award.


  • T. Grady Roberts, professor of agricultural education and communication. Roberts’ co-author on the paper and co-award recipient, Chris Estepp, is a doctoral graduate of the UF agricultural education and communication program and is now an assistant professor at Sul Ross State University.


By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, bradbuck@ufl.edu

Source: Elaine Turner, 352-392-1961, returner@ufl.edu



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Posted: July 12, 2016

Category: Agriculture, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Teaching
Tags: Awards, CALS, College Of Agricultural And Life Sciences

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