Cynthia McKenney, noted professor and horticulturist, retires on May 31
By: Norman Martin
After more than three decades of nationally-recognized expertise in ornamental horticulture and ground-breaking leadership in new education technology development, Cynthia McKenney has announced that she will retire from her post as Associate Chair and Rockwell Endowed Professor of Horticulture in Texas Tech's Department of Plant & Soil Science, as well as the group's Distance Program Leader. Her last day will be May 31.
"Dr. Cynthia McKenney without a doubt exemplifies teaching excellence," said Eric Hequet, chair of Tech's Department of Plant & Soil Science. "One of Cynthia's most noteworthy characteristics is her dedication to keeping her courses both fresh and relevant for her students. She has been an innovator and early adopter of distance education techniques. She, along with Dr. Ellen Peffley, had the first completely online course at Texas Tech University." Peffley retired from the department in 2008.
Hequet pointed out that McKenney invested considerable time and effort to develop unique online courses for all of her on campus classes, supporting the distance education programs of both the graduate and undergraduate degree programs in the department.
Over the years McKenney's research efforts have focused on development and release of native plant varieties included in the Raider Wildflower Collection. Her research also includes working with native plants, focusing on wildflower enhancement to increase drought tolerance, plant architecture, and length and intensity of floral display.
In the past, McKenney has held a number of academic leadership positions, including serving as an undergraduate program coordinator, and greenhouse administrator at Tech. At Texas A&M she worked as an assistant and associate professor of urban horticulture and extension specialist, as well as an assistant and associate professor of horticulture and regional distance education coordinator at Tech.
In 2010, McKenney was named a professor of horticulture and distance education leader at Tech. She was selected as a member of the university's elite Teaching Academy (1997), a group of academic leaders established to recognize excellence in teaching and to promote the university's teaching mission.
McKenney received her bachelor's degree in ornamental horticulture and her Texas provisional secondary teaching certificate in broad field science from Texas Tech. Her master's degree in horticulture and doctorate in higher education administration are from Tech. She is a fellow in the American Society for Horticultural Sciences, and has served on the executive board as vice president of the education division.
Recent honors for McKenney include receiving a Chancellor's Council Distinguished Teaching Award (2018), and being named a Texas Tech Integrated Scholar by the university's Office of the Provost (2015). She was chosen for her demonstrated accomplishments and effective synergy among the major professorial functions of teaching, research and service. Other honors include the CASNR Teaching Award (2016); President's Excellence in Teaching Award (2016); CASNR Service/Outreach Award (2014); and the Lifetime Member Award from the Texas Nursery Landscape Association (2013).
CONTACT: William Brown, Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Editor: Norman Martin
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