Texas Tech University

Simpson recognized at Faculty Honors Convocation

Norman Martin

April 30, 2024

Nine 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. 25) 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:

Stephen DevadossBarnie E. Rushing, Jr. Faculty Distinguished Research Award. Devadoss is the Emabeth Thompson Endowed Professor within the Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics. The award recognizes excellence in research, scholarship, and creative activity. Nominees are evaluated on the quality of scholarship, publications, and reference letters. He has a long history of academic success, including eight large NIFA grants worth about $4 million in recent years. Honors include the Southern Agricultural Economics Association Lifetime Achievement Award (2019), and Fellow of Western Agricultural Economics Association (2010). His doctorate in economics is from Iowa State University-Ames.

Laura FischerPresident's Excellence in Academic Advising (New Faculty Advisor). Fischer is an assistant professor within the Department of Agricultural Education & Communications. Her research centers on how to strategically communicate to targeted audiences about agriculture and natural resource issues. She is interested in how individuals form opinions about agricultural sciences, and the types of messages that can be used to inform people. She uses a variety of tools and research methods, such as dial testing, eye tracking, and psychophysiology, to understand what makes an effective message and to understand how audiences perceive the message. Her doctorate in agricultural communications is from Texas Tech.

Courtney GibsonPresident's Excellence in Teaching Award and the Texas Tech Parents Association Faculty Distinguished Leadership Award. Gibson is an associate professor within the Department of Agricultural Education & Communications. The Lubbock native teaches a variety of courses mostly focused on visual communication, graphic design, and print layout, as well as utilizing online media and the historical and theoretical foundations of agricultural communications. Her research broadly focuses on developing and enhancing student creativity, the impact and importance of visual communication and graphic design for agriculture, social media strategy, and risk and crisis communication. In addition to her academic duties, Gibson is an active member of the university's Faculty Senate. Her doctorate in ag communications and education is from Texas Tech.

Jason HeadrickPresident's Emerging Engaged Scholarship Award. Headrick is an assistant professor within the Department of Agricultural Education & Communications. The Tompkinsville, Kentucky native's research focuses on the intersections of leadership education, rural community development, and inclusive leadership practices, including celebrating people for their identities and contributions. He teaches the introductory leadership/ theory courses for both undergraduate and graduate students. His doctorate in human sciences-leadership studies is from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Darren HudsonChancellor's Council Distinguished Teaching Award. Hudson is Professor and the Larry Combest Endowed Chair for Agricultural Competitiveness and Director of the International Center for Agricultural Competitiveness. His research interests include agricultural policy and trade, economic development, marketing and consumer demand, and behavioral economics.  He participates in the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute consortium producing annual baseline projections for cotton for the group. He is a past-President of the Southern Agricultural Economics Association. His doctorate in agricultural and applied economics is from Texas Tech.

Brad JohnsonPresident's Academic Achievement Award & Faculty Distinguished Leadership Award. Johnson is the Gordon W. Davis Regent's Chair in Meat & Muscle Biology in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences. His research has focused on understanding of factors regulating growth and development of skeletal muscle in meat animals such as beef cattle and pigs. He had used exogenous growth promotants like steroidal implants and beta adrenergic agonists as models to study the mechanism of postnatal muscle growth in meat animals. In addition, he has been involved in developing novel means to enhance marbling in beef. His doctorate in animal science is from the University of Minnesota.

Muntazar MonsurTexas Tech University Alumni Associations' New Faculty Award. Monsur is an assistant professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture. His teaching and research efforts are focused to enhance the quality of children's lives by improving/modifying environments with special emphasis in schools, preschools, and childcare centers. He is an expert in distance education and online course development in the fields of design and is trained in Quality Matters. Honors include receiving the Gertrude Cox Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching and Learning with Technology (2018). His doctorate in design is from North Carolina State University.

Kathryn NelsonPresident's Excellence in Academic Advising (Experienced Faculty Advisor).  She is assistant department chair and senior lecturer within the Department of Landscape Architecture. Nelson is dedicated to the learning environment and leading students to succeed in the classroom. She has focused her teaching efforts in the graphic and digital communication of landscapes. In addition to digital communication, she is a certified SITES AP. Honors include the Presidents Excellence in Academic Advising Award (2018), and the Davis College Instructor Award (2014). She received her master's degree in landscape architecture from Texas Tech.

Catherine SimpsonHemphill-Wells New Professor Excellence in Teaching Award. Simpson is an Associate Professor of Sustainable/Urban Horticulture within the Department of Plant & Soil Science. Her research interests broadly include urban horticulture, controlled environment system research, vertical greenhouse production, water conservation, abiotic stress physiology, ornamental horticulture and plant-soil-water relationships. Prior to joining the Tech faculty, Simpson served as an assistant professor and research scientist at the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Citrus Center in Weslaco, Texas. Her doctorate in horticulture is from Texas A&M-College Station.

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.