In this issue:
My year as NACTA President (2020-21) is coming to a close. Personally, I consider it a privilege to have been entrusted with the opportunity to serve you -- the NACTA Family and the organization -- over the past year. My hope is that I have served you well.
Throughout the past year, I had the privilege of serving alongside a large number of talented and dedicated NACTA members working toward; a common goal of managing this organization through COVID-19 pandemic challenges (including two virtual annual conferences); the second of three years in our transition to a new management firm (JulNet Solutions, LLC, Huntington, WV); the merger of the previous NACTA Foundation (501c3) and the NACTA Organization (501c6) into one legal entity - The NACTA Organization as a 501c3; review and revitalization of past, present and future role of Regional Directors, the Membership & Public Relation Committee, and NACTA Campus Ambassadors; establishment of a NACTA Journal Editorial Board; a review of our membership and institutional membership categories; the relationship between the “parent” NACTA organization and the successful Annual NACTA Judging Contest; and the establishment of new NACTA Bylaws and Standing Rules. By no means is this an exhaustive listing of all that transpired over the past year, but it is an indication of how many talented and dedicated individuals that call NACTA ”home” stepped-up, volunteered and made great things happen on behalf of the NACTA Family and the organization! Thank you!
Before I close, I want to share a special message of thanks to members of the NACTA Executive Committee for their steadfast work in leading and supporting your NACTA organization over the past year. A word of appreciation to our newfound colleagues in JulNet Solutions, LLC for taking the time and making the effort to get to know the NACTA Family, and assisting and guiding us through the continued transition of NACTA’s management. So, to my newfound friends and colleagues at JulNet – Julie, Danielle, Cassie, and Amoritia – thank you for all your support, guidance, and shared experiences! My sincere gratitude to our Parliamentarian (Daniel Foster) and Journal Editor-in-Chief (Frank Robinson), respectively, for the “heavy lifting” throughout the year working on the By-Laws and Standing Rules, and the establishment of the new Editorial Board and process for our NACTA Journal. To our outgoing NACTA Secretary/Treasurer – Lee Wood – thank you for patiently and graciously helping us navigate this year of transition at the organizational level as well as your particular leadership position. A special word of thanks to my NACTA leadership mentor and friend – Past-President Foy Mills – for his guidance, support, and wealth of organizational and historical memory, and to President-elect M. Susie Whittington for her willingness to enthusiastically take-on and run with a number of important organizational items.
In closing, thank you NACTA Family! The future of NACTA looks bright, and I look forward to being a part of the NACTA Family for years to come!
J. Marcos Fernandez
2020-21 NACTA President
Our association is a robust and diverse set of educators, researchers, agriculture professionals, volunteers and academics who come from all walks of life and from around North America. Each month we sit down with a member to highlight their academic and professional career, and to see how they are making the best of their membership in NACTA. This month’s Featured Member is NACTA 2021-2022 Secretary/Treasurer Chris Estepp.
Chris Estepp, PhD
University of Arkansas
How long have you been a member of NACTA?
I first became a member as a graduate student in 2009 when I started my PhD program at the University of Florida. My first NACTA conference was Penn State as a grad student summer of 2010.
Looking at your time with the Association, what have you most enjoyed doing? What are you looking forward to? Committee involvement, conference attendance, leadership opportunities, etc.?
To me, conference attendance has always been a highlight. Since becoming a member I’ve only missed two years. One thing that I love about conferences is that I get to hear from a lot of folks from various disciplines about the innovative things they are doing in their classrooms. No matter their specialty, everybody is there to discuss teaching. I’ve picked up valuable ideas that I later integrated into courses. I hope that I have shared some great ideas as well! It’s something I always looks forward to. I also really enjoy visiting other campuses and seeing what other folks do at their home institutions.
Every conference I have attended I have presented scholarship in some way, either as a poster or oral presentation. I have served on the Journal awards committee for a time, I have been a campus ambassador and now serve on the Membership and PR committee. I have helped evaluate and assess award winners and have won several NACTA awards myself. In addition to receiving the NACTA Graduate Student Teaching Award and the NACTA Educator Award, I have also received two EB Knight Journal awards and two Jack Everly Journal awards, the most recent to be conferred at this year’s annual meeting.
What interesting things are you working on outside the Association right now? Research, presentations, etc.
Student engagement has always been my research passion but that’s a really broad term. That has morphed over time because it started with looking at cognitive engagement in the college classroom. That was really interesting to me. I spent 7 years on faculty at Sul Ross State University, a Hispanic-Serving Institution in Alpine, Texas. During that time, around 52% of the student population identified as LatinX. However, in the college of agriculture only 19% of students identified as LatinX. I looked at these numbers across the state and there was the same disparity among the colleges of agriculture and LatinX students on their campus. That really perplexed me and got me thinking about how we can do better. We were 80 miles from the border of Mexico and in a rural area with a large Hispanic population. I wanted to know how we could engage more Latinx students in agriculture. So, my research interests have really turned toward how can recruit, retain, engage, and prepare all underrepresented groups to be successful in agriculture. Now that I’m in Arkansas I’m still working toward these same goals. How can we make our college of agriculture a welcoming place so we can recruit and retain students who see themselves as part of the culture here.
How are you looking forward to your time as secretary/treasurer of NACTA?
I’m really excited to take on this role because I want to be part of a tradition of leadership. I’ve seen the changes those who have come before me in the Association have facilitated, and I want to follow their example. They focused on leaving NACTA a better place and a better group than when they started. I want to be just as focused on making my own impact. How can I leave NACTA better for the folks who come next?
As we put the finishing touches on the NACTA 2021 Virtual Conference, we would like to extend a sincere THANK YOU to the volunteers, attendees, and speakers that have already made our event a success.
The NACTA Administrative Office will have limited availability June 21 - 24, 2021 while facilitating the meeting. Response times may be delayed as we remotely staff the virtual event. Need help in a hurry? Here are the best ways to find answers to your questions.
Looking for access to the poster and oral presentations, switching sessions on the fly, or how to view the plenary sessions after the live event? Quickly find answers here on the Event FAQ page.
NACTA Membership Information
Looking for information on how to join NACTA or need to pay your membership dues? Check the Member page!
By registering for the virtual conference, you will gain access to your choice of workshops, both the keynote and Blue Ribbon address, poster presentations, live and asynchronous oral presentations, award presentations and the annual business meeting. Some events, like the poster and oral presentations, will be presented on demand and available for 60 days after the meeting. Please note that you will need to register and be signed-in to view any conference events or presentations.
NACTA had 10 new members in the last month. We hope you will join us in welcoming them!
|Olumide Aborisade||Norman Arancon||Jeneen Fields|
|Kate Fletcher||Austin Jackson||Trinity Johnson|
|Ward Nefstead||Lucia Ona||Kristopher Rankin|
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.
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