January 2021

In this issue:

President's Message
NACTA Featured Member - Nick Fuhrman

Last Call* Teaching Award Nominations Due Feb 1
Last Call* Poster & Oral Abstracts Due Feb 1
New NACTA Members
Renew or Become a New NACTA Member

President's Message

As we embark on this new year, 2021, and for many of us a continuation of the current academic school year, one mired and impacted by pandemic-related challenges, many questions and expectations remain unanswered and unmet. Whether through the classroom, in the field and teaching laboratories, through students’ co-curricular initiatives and organizations, the fact remains that we and our institutions find ourselves in a time like none other. We are being tasked to institute innovation in our teaching, demonstrate greater understanding, empathy, and patience, strive to maintain a level of excellence in our scholarship and productivity as faculty, etc. These are indeed challenging times and circumstances for all of us.

In this new year, may we seek to engage, and indeed lean on our fellow NACTA members, mentors, colleagues, and friends, as we commit to achieving our assignments, duties, and callings as faculty, instructors, and staff. May we learn from one another and be willing to share our knowledge with others. May we reach out and offer assistance and support to our fellow NACTA members as well as our institutional colleagues, locally. May we choose to make 2021 the year we should and could make it to be… for all concerned.

J. Marcos Fernandez
2020-21 NACTA President
Purdue University

NACTA Featured Member - Nick Fuhrman

Our association is a robust and diverse set of educators, researchers, professionals, volunteers, and academics that come from all walks of life and from around North America. Each month we will choose a member to highlight. We will focus on their academic and professional career, as well as seeing how they are making the best of their membership in NACTA. This month’s feature is NACTA member Nick Fuhrman.

How long have you been a member of NACTA?
I have been a member since I was a graduate student in 2004 (a total of 16 years). I have been a life member for over 5 years.

Looking at your time with NACTA, what have you most enjoyed doing? What are you looking forward to…committee involvement, conference attendance, journal involvement, etc.?
Oh gosh, hands-down the family community of other teachers that I feel a part of when I do anything with NACTA. My family and I look forward to our conferences each year and I consider attending the conferences like a family reunion where I get to visit with friends who love the same job I love—teaching and mentoring students. My favorite activity with NACTA was probably when I chaired the Teacher Recognition Committee for 4 years and got to present the teaching awards during the annual conference banquet. Anytime I can be in front of a crowd and share stories of the great teaching from my award-winning colleagues over a microphone, that’s a GREAT day! I am super excited about (safely) being back in person again for an annual conference and look forward to seeing more and more graduate students attend our meeting.

What interesting things are you working on outside the Association right now? Research, presentations, etc.
Being a Dad is my favorite thing of all to do! Our children (Miles who is 3 and Ellis who is 1) are the highlight of our days. My research focuses on the use of animals in educational settings and we are studying how handling different types of animals while teaching can reduce public speaking anxiety in new teachers. It’s pretty cool! I also host a monthly national television series called “Ranger Nick” and we will soon tape our 75th episode. It brings me so much joy to look into that camera and know I’m bringing a smile to someone’s face who is sitting in their living room.

How is the field of agricultural education changing and adapting? Not necessarily considering the pandemic, but it is certainly difficult to avoid.
I think our field is becoming increasingly interested in the learning outcomes associated with teaching over Zoom. I am especially interested to know if students viewing a professor who is teaching from their home will feel a stronger rapport with that person because they now have a glimpse into their personal life. I also think agricultural education is becoming increasingly interested in elementary agricultural education and preparing pre-service teachers to teach younger students. I considered becoming a fourth-grade science teacher many times over the years. It just sounds so fun!

Anything else that you would like to add?
NACTA will always be my favorite conference to attend. I have always felt included, valued, and appreciated for sharing my passion for teaching. I encourage every faculty member I know to join NACTA and get engaged! I love this group!!!

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. Central to NACTA is recognizing and honoring individuals whose efforts represent the very best in the teaching of agricultural, environmental, natural or life sciences at the post-secondary level. At the same time, NACTA seeks to encourage our honored colleagues to share their methods of achieving excellence in teaching and learning.

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, or 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: http://nactaabs.expressacademic.org/login.php

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

New NACTA Members

NACTA had 13 new members in the last month. We hope you will join us in welcoming them!  

 Didier Mena Aguilar  Peyton Beattie  Sara Cloft
 Caitlin Cridland  Christopher Eck  Leah Hamilton
 Haylee Hanling  Ariel Heminger  Ousmane Kane
 Josh Mott  Shannon Norris  Jacquelyn Prestegaard
 Charles Zumbaugh

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!