AEC faculty brings home Texas Tech President's Exemplary Program Award
By: Norman Martin
Four standout faculty members from Texas Tech University's Department of Agricultural Education & Communications have been selected to receive this year's "Exemplary Program Award" under the 2021 President's Engaged Scholarship Awards Program. This is the second year in a row that the department from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources has won the award.
This year's honor was presented to AEC's Courtney Gibson, assistant professor; Erica Irlbeck, professor; Lindsay Kennedy, assistant professor of practice; and Courtney Meyers, professor; for their project, "The ACOM Block: An Innovative Course Structure to Engage Students with Industry."
"The block course structure has made a big impact on our ACOM undergraduate program, and continues to provide real-world learning experiences for our senior ACOM students before they enter the workforce," Kennedy said. "It is an ever-evolving process, and our ACOM faculty team is constantly working to improve the block experience while enhancing the industry engagement opportunities for our students.
"I know our industry partners see a lot of value in what we are doing with the block, which gives our program a lot of credibility as we work to produce work-ready professionals," she said.
In an abstract of the project, the researchers noted the innovative block format combined two existing courses dedicated to publication production and campaign development with two new courses that focused on advanced design and media convergence to replicate a real-world communications work environment. The program is the first and only agricultural communications program in the country to implement this type of learning experience.
Throughout the block experience, students develop and incorporate the skills necessary to thrive in the agricultural communications industry, while engaging in service-learning projects with community partners and industry representatives. This combination of hard and soft skills includes writing, design, visual communication, sales, web development, social media planning, and campaign development, as well as critical thinking, problem-solving, strategic communication, and creativity.
Birgit Green, assistant vice provost with the University Outreach and Engagement office, noted that the research team will be recognized and the project highlighted during the 2021 Engaged Scholarship Symposium, which this year will take place on is Wednesday (Mar. 31) in a virtual format as part of Texas Tech's Discoveries to Impact Conference. The awards program is coordinated by the university's Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, and University Outreach and Engagement,
The President's Exemplary Program Award recognizes Tech faculty for projects demonstrating outstanding academic engagement and commitment to addressing a community need or larger social issue. The award recognizes the program's impacts on both the community and the university's faculty, staff or students.
Kennedy and Cindy Akers, CASNR's Associate Dean for Academic and Student Programs were winners of last year's Exemplary Program Award for CASNR's Matador Institute of Leadership Engagement Program.
CONTACT: Scott Burris, Chair, Department of Agricultural Education & Communications, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-8689 or firstname.lastname@example.org
0312NM21 / PHOTO: (clockwise from top left) Courtney Gibson, Erica Irlbeck, Lindsay Kennedy and Courtney Meyers
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Editor: Norman Martin
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