teaching

Congrats to our Graduate Students John Jones and Mauricio Tejera!

John Jones was the recipient of our Teaching Excellence Award. The purpose of this award to is recognize and encourage outstanding achievement by graduate students in teaching. John teaches our Agronomy 354 Soil and Plant Growth and he currently is assistant coach of the Iowa State University soil judging team.  

Siblings Kelli and Mitchell Roush are teaching assistants, or TAs, for Agronomy 182, our Introduction to Soil Science class. Kelli has been a TA for four semesters and Mitchell has been for two semesters.

Mitchell’s favorite part about TA-ing with his sister is that they are able to use different methods to help students learn and understand different concepts. They both have different teaching styles, which helps if a student doesn’t understand his way, then Kelli’s method may work better for that student.

Lee Burras sets his Diet Pepsi on the podium and grabs a piece of chalk off the ledge. Class is about to begin.

Burras’ classroom is upbeat and adversarial; he encourages his students to challenge him as much as he challenges them. In order to keep students engaged he uses the chalkboard.

“I want students engaged,” says Burras. “I want whatever I’m talking about to come to life in front of them. I can’t make that happen with a Power Point presentation.”

Burras’ passion is infectious, not just for soils but also for life and for learning. His classes are some of the most sought after in the Department of Agronomy.

by Ellen Bombella, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service

One of Andy VanLoocke's biggest accomplishments has been creating Global Agriculture in a Changing World, a course he created when he came to Iowa State.

"I wanted to create a course that would tell people what agronomy is about and about the pressing issues facing our growing population," said VanLoocke, assistant professor in agronomy. "I want to teach students the basic processes and underlying biology, math and physics to appreciate what the headlines are telling them."

By Ellen Bombella, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service

Ken Moore led the development of a distance education program in agronomy 19 years ago and this year he received the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Distance Education in Teaching Award for his hard work.

There have been a lot of changes in technology since Moore started the program. One of the first roadblocks was the students' ability to access the internet. When the program began in 1998, it was very expensive for students to use the internet and online courses were not common.

The Iowa State College of Agricultural and Life Sciences awards are selected each semester to highlight the excellent contributions of faculty and staff. The Department of Agronomy won several awards for the Spring 2018 semester. All awards will be given at the awards ceremony held March 8 at 4:10 pm in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union. Congratulations to the following Agronomy faculty and staff on a job well done:

 

Ken Pecinovsky, superintendent of the Nashua research farm - P&S Award of Excellence

Dr. Richard M Cruse
Professor

A new class is requiring agronomy students to give up part of their summer. While it might sound like a bummer, they are looking forward to it. Dubbed Agronomy 279, the new class is one sophomores majoring in Agronomy will have to take to graduate. The class will meet for the first time during the fall 2017 semester. The catch? Their first class will be Aug. 7, according to the agronomy department.

The addition came after the agronomy department said it decided to redesign the curriculum. Agronomy 279 will be an application of material students learned in Agronomy 181 and 182. Students will go outside in the fields to learn about soil and crops.

“Students really like hands-on activities,” Erik Christian, lecturer in agronomy, said. “Students do a lot of training in the summer when they go work on their internships and that’s going to be out in the field. [Currently], we don’t offer them those experiences.”

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