ecember 2020

In this issue:

President's Message
NACTA Journal Update

Call for Teaching Award Nominations - Due Feb. 1
#NACTA21 Call for Poster and Oral Abstracts
A Note from APLU
New NACTA Members
Renew or Become a New NACTA Member

President's Message

Even in the midst of an unprecedented, disruptive global event like the COVID-19 pandemic, your NACTA organization has not slowed down its efforts to move forward. The NACTA Journal, all the planning and preparing for the 2021 Annual NACTA Conference, the renewed efforts and dedication of the NACTA Regional Directors, the Membership & PR Committee, and the work of countless others, continues. Broadly stated, NACTA is composed of over 1,000 stellar “everyday leaders” scattered all across North America and beyond. Without its membership, NACTA would be a skeleton of what it is today, and frankly, what we believe it can become tomorrow.

For instance, earlier this year, we called together a group of dedicated individuals and charged them with reviewing how the NACTA Journal was working. Specifically, we wanted to know how the journal could be improved, and what steps we should take to establish our publication as one of the premier peer-reviewed venues for the exchange of scholarly work and ideas on the topic of teaching and learning across agriculture and the related disciplines. The NACTA Journal Ad Hoc Task Force has been diligent in their task, and have prepared a thorough and visionary proposal that was recently presented to the NACTA Leadership Team during the annual mid-year meeting. You can read more about some of the proposed changes below; look forward to the presentation of the final version to the entire NACTA membership during the annual business meeting portion of our Annual Conference (June 2021).

For now, we express our appreciation to the Task Force: Frank Robinson (NACTA Journal Editor) – Chair; Amoritia Strogen-Hewett (JulNet); Nick Fuhrman, NACTA Member; Elizabeth Karcher, NACTA Member; Chad Miller, NACTA Member (NACTA Journal Awards, Subcommittee Chair); Melanie Miller-Foster, NACTA Member; and Brian Pearson, NACTA Member; and an additional word of thanks to NACTA Parliamentarian, Daniel Foster, for his valued counsel, wise guidance and dedicated assistance with the process.

May you enjoy your winter break and the holidays, wherever they may take you. For my family, we celebrate this season as Christmas, with all its familial, cultural, religious, and social connotations, along with all its myriad of commercial trappings and tasty culinary treats! It is a time of year that we as a family thoroughly embrace and truly enjoy. And although we acknowledge that the holidays will be quite different this year due to the pandemic, it is in this well-intentioned spirit that we wish you and yours the best of this holiday season and a safe and happy new year!

J. Marcos Fernandez
2020-21 NACTA President
Purdue University


NACTA Journal Update

At the June 2020 NACTA Conference Executive Board meeting, the board approved the formation of an Ad Hoc Task Force. This team, led by NACTA Journal Editor, Frank Robinson, was charged with reviewing the NACTA Journal procedures and making recommendations to the Executive Board for approval. Items considered were the NACTA Journal Committee membership; the efficient review, handling, and publication of manuscripts; and streamlining the review and scheduling of abstracts for the annual NACTA conference.

Members of the task force included:

  • Frank Robinson (NACTA Journal Editor) – Chair
  • Amoritia Strogen-Hewett (JulNet)
  • Nick Fuhrman, NACTA member
  • Elizabeth Karcher, NACTA Member
  • Chad Miller, NACTA Member (NACTA Journal Awards, subcommittee Chair)
  • Melanie Miller-Foster, NACTA member
  • Brian Pearson, NACTA member

“There are still things I don’t know. I came into this position (as Editor) with no user manual,” Frank noted. “(The Ad Hoc Task Force) had six meetings and only one person was missing from a single meeting. I’ve never been on a committee like that. It was amazing.”

Outside of these focused goals were broader items for consideration. The Ad Hoc Task Force considered ways in which to provide a strong foundation to grow the NACTA Journal in the future, improving communication between NACTA committees which have Journal functions, and to provide continuity for processes for the annual NACTA conference. It was also important to Frank and his team to create a space that would provide opportunities for leadership roles for NACTA members, should they choose to join in the capacity of a reviewer or, in the future, associate editor. These enhanced roles and responsibilities could provide balance to the workflow of everyone involved in the publication.

“There were some difficulties in the transition, but through Frank’s effort and the team he assembled, great strides have been made to advance the Journal and its progress. There are ongoing talks and plans that will pave the way to make the NACTA Journal the premier source of scholarship in agricultural education and research,” said NACTA past-president Foy Mills during a leadership call.

“If you think you may want to be involved, stay tuned,” said Frank. “If you are interested in service to the Journal, feel free to reach out to me. We would love for our Journal to be inclusive and diverse in background, discipline and experience.”

For more information on how to support the NACTA Journal, please reach out to Frank Robinson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Call for Teaching Award Nominations - Due Feb. 1

Please consider nominations for the NACTA Teaching Awards. These are due February 1, 2021. Details are here: NACTA Teaching Awards

NACTA seeks to inspire achievement at the highest levels of excellence. Recognizing and honoring individuals whose efforts represent the very best in the teaching of agriculture, environmental, natural or life sciences at the post-secondary level are central to NACTA. At the same time, NACTA seeks to encourage our honored colleagues to share their methods of achieving excellence.

Instructions for nominators and information regarding each of the awards can be found here: Instructions for Nominators


#NACTA21 Call for Poster and Oral Abstracts

NACTA welcomes abstract submissions for the 2021 NACTA Conference to be held virtually June 21-24. The submission deadline is February 1, 2021.
The 67th Annual NACTA Conference will serve as a venue for faculty and graduate students in agricultural, environmental, natural, and life sciences to share their scholarship of teaching, innovative teaching and advising ideas, and other relevant teaching and learning information around the theme of “Excellence and Innovation in Response to a New Teaching Paradigm."

Changes for 2021: We will not be accepting abstracts for workshops for the 2021 Conference, only abstracts for poster and oral presentations. With the number of abstracts submitted for presentation at the annual NACTA Conference, accepted abstracts will no longer be returned to authors for revision. Authors are therefore strongly encouraged to have their abstract reviewed prior to submission to verify correct grammar and spelling. The abstract must contain an objective statement and must represent that which will be presented at the meeting.

Also, new for 2021, we would like you to specify an abstract type in one of these three areas:

  • Report of Empirical Study
  • Case Study
  • Best Practice in Teaching / Extension

We request that abstracts for the 2021 NACTA Conference fall within one of the following topic areas:

  • Innovative Teaching and Learning
  • Global Education
  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
  • Teaching with Technology
  • Online Programming
  • College / University Curriculum
  • K-12 Curriculum
  • Community Learning / Extension

Abstract Format: Accepted abstracts will be a concise summary of factual information. A high-quality abstract contains the following key elements (without designating them as such): (1) a brief introduction, including objectives of the presentation; (2) relevant experimental conditions indicating the scope of study or survey (authors of predominately philosophical works may substitute other appropriate criteria); (3) observations, results, or data (however, data should be in summary form and not presented in tables or graphs) - philosophical abstracts must demonstrate the application of said philosophy; and (4) a concise summary.

Guidelines for NACTA Abstracts

  • Abstracts are limited to one paragraph of 250 words, not including title and by-lines.
  • Keywords should also be included with abstract submission.
  • Create the abstract with MS Word or compatible software, using single-spaced Times New Roman, 12-point font or similar. Title of abstract should be brief (70 to 90 characters including spaces), precise and in bold.
  • Author(s) name(s) and affiliation(s) follows the title.
  • First author/submitting author should be the contact author.
  • Presenting author’s name should be followed by an asterisk (*).
  • Body of the abstract is single-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman font or similar.
  • Do not include illustrations or bibliographical references in the abstract.
  • Indicate if you would like your accepted abstract to be considered for an oral presentation. Accepted abstracts that are not chosen for oral presentations will be presented as posters.
  • If an author submits multiple abstracts, the topic and content of each must differ substantially.
  • Abstracts should stand alone and contain valuable information for both those in attendance as well as those who read it in the NACTA Journal.

An abstract is unacceptable if it:

  • Contains significant grammatical errors and/or meaningless statements such as: "The results will be presented."
  • Includes no statement/s relating to the objective(s).
  • Fails to comply with submission requirements.
  • Presents opinion/speculation with no demonstrated application for teaching or advising efforts.

All abstracts must be submitted at this website:

Questions? Contact NACTA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Deadline: February 1, 2021.

All abstracts are reviewed by the NACTA Journal Editorial Board and the Editor. The author submitting the abstract will be notified of its status by April 1, 2021.

Thank you,
Frank Robinson, PhD
Editor in Chief, NACTA Journal

A Note from APLU

Like NACTA, APS will be virtual for the first half of 2020, including their winter meeting. APS will continue to provide APS Innovative Teaching Awards throughout 2021. These awards provide up to $1,000 in travel support to NACTA for recipients to present the results of their project if they are accepted by NACTA for poster or oral presentation. APS provides up to $30,000 in awards each year in increments of $5,000 for inter-institutional awards or $3,000 for single institution awards.

APS would be interested in any focused attention NACTA might bring to issues involving recruiting and retaining diverse students, staff, and faculty; inclusive pedagogy; online student engagement; online pedagogy in general, but labs in particular; and anything related to student mental health.


New NACTA Members

NACTA had 6 new members in the last month. We hope you will join us in welcoming them!  

Michelle Abraczinskas Elizabeth Diehl Nia Morales
Soohyoun Ahn Tiffany Drape Tolulope Morawo
Katrina Alford Jeneé Duncan Swathi Nadakuti
John Arthington MaryGrace Erickson William Pelletier
Kelly Balmant Felipe Ferrao Deirdre Prischmann-Voldseth
Stacy Bevan Nicole Ferwerda Ranjith Ramanathan
Christen Burgett Eunice Foster Grady Roberts
Justin Callaham Jenni Fridgen Hannah Scherer
Karen Cannon Deepak Keshwani Candice Stefanou
Mysha Clarke Ryan Klein Anne Streich
Danny Coenen Subbu Kumarappan Karen Vines
John Cole Yang Lin Katherine Witrick
Carolyn Copenheaver Andrew MacIntosh Lawrence Wolfskill
Angel Custodio Estelle Martin Ying Zhang
Brad Daigneault Ana Martin-Ryals  
Ali Demirci Samuel Martins  


Renew or Become a New NACTA Member

NACTA is the largest professional development organization that focuses specifically on the scholarship of teaching and learning in agriculture, food and natural resources.

Need to renew your membership? Want to invite a colleague to join? Want to change your membership status? Visit the membership page here.

We appreciate your NACTA membership!


The NACTA Administrative Office will be closed on December 24 and 25 in observance of the Christmas Holiday. We will resume normal business hours on Monday, December 28. We will also be closed on December 31 and January 1 in observance of New Year's Eve and Day. We would like to wish you and your families a happy holiday season. We are excited about what 2021 has in store!