Whittington, Lanker win top teaching honors from NACTA

Two CFAES faculty members have received top honors from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) in the group’s 2015 Teaching and Leadership Awards program.

Susie Whittington, Teaching Award of Excellence

Susie Whittington, professor in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership, won the Teaching Award of Excellence, which is the highest teaching award for faculty with exceptional service to NACTA and who have earned the group’s entry-level and upper-level awards. NACTA presents the award to only one individual each year.

Whittington, among her responsibilities, directs a Hatch research project called “Improving the Cognitive Capacity of Students by Fully Engaging Professors in the Teaching and Learning Process.” Her work on the project has earned her the Author of the Year award from the American Association for Agricultural Education and the E.B. Knight and Jack Everly Outstanding Journal Article awards from NACTA.

“Professor Whittington has achieved a superb record of teaching excellence,” one of the teaching award reviewers wrote. “Her level of energy and enthusiasm for teaching, advising and mentoring students exceeds all possible expectations.

“Her efforts have made a lasting impact on the lifelong learning skills of her students.”

Terry Lanker, John Deere Award

Terry Lanker, division chair of the Horticultural Technologies program at Ohio State ATI in Wooster, won the John Deere Award, which recognizes faculty and their institution for outstanding agricultural business, technology and/or management programs. This award, too, goes to only individual each year.

Lanker serves as lead instructor in the majority of the classes for students majoring in ATI’s Floral Design and Marketing program.

“Ms. Lanker is without question a highly creative scholar in the area of her professional expertise — floral design and marketing,” one of her nominators wrote. “More importantly, she uses this creativity in garnering ideas from others to further hone her scholarly endeavors.

“Most importantly, she is able to transfer many of her scholarly attributes to her students through the wide ranging experiences she provides for them in their Ohio State ATI educational endeavors so that they are superbly prepared for entering into elite positions in their professional endeavors.”

Educator Awards

Also in NACTA’s awards program, five CFAES faculty members received the Educator Award, NACTA’s entry-level teaching honor: Emily Buck of ACEL; Elena Irwin of the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics; Tom Mitchell of the Department of Plant Pathology; and Greg Hitzhusen and Brian Lower of the School of Environment and Natural Resources.

Our congratulations to all the recipients. The awards will be presented at NACTA’s 2015 annual conference June 16-20 at the University of Georgia.