Texas Tech University

Davis College faculty honored for excellence at annual faculty convocation

Norman Martin

April 20, 2023

Six faculty members from Texas Tech's Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources were honored for their achievements and contributions to the university as part of the university's annual Faculty Honors Convocation on Thursday (Apr. 20) at the Student Union Building. The awards are given by the Office of the President and recognize outstanding faculty and departments for excellence in teaching, research, service and more.

High-quality faculty are the backbone of great academic institutions, stressed Davis College Dean Clint Krehbiel. Faculty honors convocation provides an opportunity to recognize and congratulate Davis College faculty members and departments who are true leaders on our campus in helping the university achieve its strategic goals and grow its national and international reputation, he said.

Among those receiving awards were:

David DoerfertPresident's Academic Achievement Award & Faculty Distinguished Leadership Award.  Doerfert is a professor within the Department of Agricultural Education & Communications and former associate dean of the Texas Tech Graduate School. He has taught numerous courses over the years, as well as conducting research related to agricultural communication strategies and methods. Recent honors include the Ted Jim Dotts Jr. and Betty Shewbert Dotts Ally of the Year Award (2020), Davis College Distinguished Student Advising Award (2014), and Davis College Distinguished Teaching Award (2012). Doerfert, who joined the Texas Tech faculty in 2002, received his doctorate from The Ohio State University.

Nathan HallChancellor's Council Distinguished Research Award. Hall is as an associate professor of companion animal science and director of the university's Canine Olfaction research &  Education Laboratory. His research broadly focuses on exploring the capabilities of the dog's nose and how training influences olfactory perception. His research was bolstered in 2021 by a $475,000 grant from the Agriculture & Food Research Initiative of the USDA's National Institute of Food & Agriculture. Honors for Hall include the Gerber Behavior Analysis Research Award (2015); Hall, who joined the Texas Tech faculty in 2016, received his doctorate in psychology from the University of Florida.

Jason HeadrickTexas Tech University Alumni Associations' New Faculty Award. Headrick is an assistant professor of leadership and community development within the Department of Agricultural Education & Communications. His research program broadly focuses on leadership education and the access around it: leadership education pedagogy, access to leadership education/training in communities/ rural communities, and diversity and inclusion. Recent honors include being named a fellow in the Texas Tech University Institute for Inclusive Excellence (2020-2021). Headrick, who joined the Texas Tech faculty in 2020, received doctorate in human sciences-leadership studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Sam JacksonChancellor's Council Distinguished Teaching Award. Jackson is a professor within the Department of Animal & Food Sciences, as well coordinator of undergraduate advising, and supervisor of the department's horse and wool judging teams. Raised in Stephenville, Texas, Jackson grew up on a diversified livestock farm and raised sheep, cattle and horses. His specialty is sheep production and growth, and development of farm animals. He is a leader in research with sheep that carry the callipyge gene for extreme muscling. Jackson, who joined the Texas Tech faculty in 1993, received his doctorate in animal science from Texas Tech.

John RayfieldPresident's Excellence in Teaching Award. Rayfield is a professor within the Department of Agricultural Education & Communications. Rayfield's teaching and research interests are in the field of experiential learning where he teaches undergraduate and graduate classes on experiential learning practice and theory. Recent honors include the Non-Land-Grant Agricultural & Renewable Resources Universities' 2022 Distinguished Educator Award (2022), and the ‘Outstanding Journal Article for 2019' by the American Association for Agricultural Education's Journal of Agricultural Education. Rayfield, who joined the Texas Tech faculty in 2016, received his doctorate in agricultural education from Texas Tech.

Son TranBarnie E. Rushing, Jr. Faculty Distinguished Research Award. Tran is a professor in the Department of Plant & Soil Science working within the Institute of Genomics for Crop Abiotic Stress Tolerance. He has been recognized six times as one of the world's most highly-cited researchers in their respective fields by Clarivate Analytics. His research broadly centers on plant functional genomics and regulatory roles of signaling molecules, leading to development of crop cultivars with enhanced environmental stress resistance. Tran, who joined the Texas Tech faculty in 2020, received doctorate in iological science degrees from Szent Istvan University in Hungary.

Tech convocation officials also recognized the university's current Paul Whitfield Horn Professors from Davis College, which include Mindy Brashears (2022) Professor of Food Safety & Public Health and former Under Secretary of Agriculture in Food Safety; Eric Hequet (2016) Associate Vice President for Research Office of Research & Innovation; and Michael Galyean (2006) Professor, Department of Veterinary Sciences, and former Texas Tech Provost. Horn professorships are the highest honor a faculty member can receive from the university. The award is named for Texas Tech's first president, Paul Whitfield Horn.


This story was first published in the Davis College NewsCenter. See the original article here.