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Better by Far; McKenney drives technology-based PSS distance education

image image Texas Tech’s Department of Plant and Soil Science has named a long-time faculty member to serve as its distance program leader. Cynthia McKenney, who was recently named a full professor by the Texas Tech Board of Regents, will be responsible for coordinating the department’s advising and distance courses.

“Our department has three degree programs and four graduate certificate programs offered at a distance,” said Department Chairman Tom Thompson. “The flexibility that students seeking to balance work, family and professional development is beginning to attract a new generation of students.”

Indeed, enrollment in plant and soil science degree and graduate certificate programs offered at a distance has more than doubled since the Fall of 2008, he added.

Distance Education Coordinator. In the past, McKenney has served as an associate professor of horticulture and regional distance education coordinator at Texas Tech, in addition to working as an associate professor of urban horticulture and extension specialist at Texas A&M University.

Awards for McKenney include Best Instructor Using Trans-Texas Video Conference Network (2001); Taber Award from the Texas Nursery & Landscape Association (2003) and J.C. Miller Distinguished Educator Award (2010). She received a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in horticulture from Texas Tech. Her doctorate in higher education administration is from Texas Tech.

In other action, officials noted that the department has the only bachelor’s degree option in viticulture and enology offered in the state of Texas. Starting in the fall 2011 semester, Texas Tech will be offering graduate and undergraduate viticulture and enology courses at a distance.

Written by Norman Martin

CONTACT: Thomas Thompson, professor and chairman, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2838 or



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