AEC faculty, students shine at Western Region AAAE Conference in Las Cruces
By: Norman Martin
Texas Tech's Department of Agricultural Education & Communications brought home top honors this week in a variety of categories from the American Association for Agricultural Education's Western Region Conference. The winners were recognized on Wednesday (Sep. 21) at the organization's annual meeting in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
"I am so proud of the leadership influence and impact our department has within the Western Region of AAAE,” said Scott Burris, chair and professor within the Department of Agricultural Education & Communications. “Our faculty and students are extremely deserving of these awards and recognitions."
AAAE is one of the nation's premier national society for social science scholarship in food, agriculture and natural resources. Program officials note that its mission is to foster excellence in the discovery and exchange of evidence-based solutions for social science challenges in agriculture and related sciences.
Among the faculty members from Tech's Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources receiving individual recognition were:
- 2022 Western Region Distinguished Agricultural Communications Educator. Lindsay Kennedy, an assistant professor of practice and coordinator of Davis College's Matador Institute of Leadership Engagement. Her key teaching roles include the Agriculturist magazine production course and a field-based digital photography course.
- 2022 Western Region Outstanding Teacher. John Rayfield, a professor and expert in experiential learning. Earlier this year Rayfield was honored as a 2022 AAAE Fellow, and received the ‘Outstanding Journal Article for 2019' by the AAE's Journal of Agricultural Education.
- 2022 Western Region AAAE Distinguished Teacher Educator. Rudy Ritz, an associate professor. His research broadly focuses on involving beginning agriscience teachers and professionals entering Texas AgriLife Extension. He is part of the team conducting interdisciplinary research in water management through outreach efforts with TAWC.
In other action, officials at the AAAE conference recognized several research projects, including:
- 2022 Western Region People's Choice Research Poster Award. Title: “Examining College Students' Trust in Sources for Scientific Information.” Research Team: Ginger Orton, Laura Fischer, Mary Katelynn Butler Horton and Skylar Elmore. Fischer is an AEC assistant professor.
- 2022 Western Region Outstanding Research Manuscript. Title: “Fake It Till You Make It? College Students' Perceived Ability versus Actual Ability to Identify Fake News on Agricultural Topics.” Research Team: Mary Katelynn Horton, Courtney Gibson, Laura Fischer and Todd Chambers. Gibson is an AEC associate professor.
- 2022 Western Region Distinguished Manuscript. Title: “Communicating Cooperatively: Exploring Social Media and Online Communication Use of Agricultural Commodity Cooperatives in Texas.” Rhonda Delynn Butler, Courtney Gibson, Erica Irlbeck and Courtney Meyers. Irlbeck and Meyers are AEC professors.
Tech's Department of Agricultural Education & Communications has 14 faculty members with more than 285 undergraduate students and 100 graduate students. Faculty members specialize in one of three disciplinary areas: teacher education, agricultural communications, and agricultural leadership. Master's degrees are available in agricultural education and agricultural communications, and a departmental Ph.D. program allows students to focus on any of the three areas. In addition, graduate certificates are available in agricultural leadership and agricultural communication.
CONTACT: Scott Burris, Chair, Department of Agricultural Education & Communications, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-8689 or email@example.com
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Editor: Norman Martin
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