In this issue:
NACTA Featured Member - M. Susie Whittington, President
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 President M. Susie Whittington.
M. Susie Whittington, PhD
Executive Director of the second year transformation experience program and the office of academic enrichment, distinguished prof in the college of food agriculture and environmental sciences
The Ohio State University
Where did you complete your studies, where have you taught and where are you now? What are you teaching, if you still have time in the classroom?
All at The Ohio State University (OSU). I taught at the University of Idaho for 5 years and Penn State for 5 years. I have been at OSU for 22 years in September. I am just completing my 4th year in the administrative role of STEP, which means my role covers 80% administration and 20% teaching.
I taught my last general education course for the university in December 2020. Prior to that I designed and taught courses throughout our department including Introduction to Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership; Data Instrumentation and Collection; Experiential Learning; and Methods of Teaching for both formal and non-formal instruction.
How long have you been a member of NACTA? When was your first meeting?
My first NACTA meeting was in 1993 in Twin Falls, Idaho. I was presenting a 3-hour workshop and you had to be a member to present. I paid my life membership when we were at Iowa State in 1997.
Looking at your time with the Association, what have you most enjoyed doing?
By far the personal and professional interactions with other members in conversations around improving teaching. And that has just been a constant. No matter what else is going on, the ebbs and flows of the organization, that has been a constant across all of those years.
What are you looking forward to?
Outside of the presidency, like most members, what we are most looking forward to at this moment is our first face-to-face conference at Ohio State-Wooster in 2022.
What interesting things are you working on outside the Association right now? Research, presentations, etc.
When I was named a distinguished professor in CFAES in January 2021, with that honorific came grant dollars. This summer I am using that grant to hire a postdoc and a current graduate student to assist in preparing journal article manuscripts for national dissemination. We have data that have been collected by our OSU Center for the Study of Student Life about: our second-year student experiences; students’ transitions between 1st and 2nd year; and characteristics related to 1st gen and underrepresented populations in the 2nd year at the university. The data need shared. Among those studies, we are writing one of the manuscripts with the NACTA Journal in mind.
What challenges have you faced in the past year that you feel have better prepared you for your upcoming presidency?
The shear challenge of being apart for such an extended period has taught me that we can continue moving forward progressively even in the face of obstacles. I have learned that we are all capable of pivoting very quickly and moving in an unexpected direction, while continuing to be efficient and effective. This year has also confirmed for someone as old as me that telephone calls are still a viable use of technology in our global environment! Ha!
The first female president of the Association was Jean Glelchsner from Fort Hays University in 2000. Since then, there have been eight female presidents, including yourself, with five women in the leadership role in the last ten years. Could you speak to this inclusion and representation in NACTA over the last 20 years?
I would say I am fortunate to have been among the first women who were members of what had traditionally been a male-dominated profession, and that I am grateful for the profound impact NACTA members have had on my personal and professional life. From the early 1990s, I always felt welcomed as a member and respected as a teacher of agricultural sciences. I welcome the opportunity to give back to this organization as the president, and I look forward to us continuing to be inclusive, accepting, and inviting to anyone desiring to learn more about improving college teaching in the agricultural sciences.
Anything else that you would like to add?
Our goal initiatives during the next year will include overseeing a review of the website and membership management system. We will be revisiting our vision and mission statements, assisting in the implementation of a new Journal Board of Directors, and working collectively with JulNet and the new Secretary/Treasurer, Chris Estepp, in examining the efficiencies in our financial oversight structure for the organization.
NACTA Bylaws and Standing Rules
NACTA members reviewed, discussed and accepted some amendments to the Association's bylaws and Standing Rules at the 2021 annual business meeting, held virtually on June 24. The proposed revisions that were considered can be found here. The final version of those revisions, that were adopted by the membership during that meeting, can be found here.
NACTA 2021 Award Winners
NACTA awarded honors to nearly 90 educators from all across North America at the NACTA 2021 Virtual Conference last month. A complete listing of the award winners is below. To download the 2021 Awards Program please click here.
E.B. Knight Journal Award
Bob Gough Teaching Tip Award
Theresa Pesl Murphrey
Jack Everly Journal Award
NACTA Graduate Student Teaching Awards
Melissia A. Grant
Jessica Ann Johnson
José Guilherme Cesário Pereira Pinto
Didier Mena Aguilar
Sakina T. S. Dixon
NACTA Educator Awards
Lea Ann Kinman
W. Brandon Smith
Erin E. Alvarez
Wheeler G. Foshee, III
Monica M. Lewandowski
Lauren M. Pintor
Jeanette Mary Andrade
Melanie Miller Foster
Faculty Teaching Award of Merit Certificates 2020 - 2021
Murray Brown Leadership Award
Ann Marie VanDerZanden
NACTA Distinguished Educator Award
NACTA Teaching Scholar Award
NACTA Judging and Student Service Award
Excellence in Teaching and Learning with Technology Award
NACTA had 14 new members in the last month. We hope you will join us in welcoming them!
|Mallory Fuhrig||Kathi Jogan||Janell Johnson|
|Katelyn Jones-Hamlow||Angela Kaczowka||Randy Kutcher|
|Leslie Lekatz||Brooke Parrish||Lacey Roberts|
|Leah Sandall||Dharmendra Saraswat||Jessica Toombs|
|Jolet Van Niekerk||Allison Vautier|
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!