Although just recently hired to the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership as a professor and the chair of the department, Dr. Kitchel is anything but the new kid on the block. Before graduating with both his bachelor’s and
master’s degrees from The Ohio State University in 1998 and 1998 respectively, Dr. Kitchel was an active and involved student. His resume included being the president of Ag Ed Society, the president of Phalanx (today known as CFAES ambassadors), and a brother of Alpha Tau Zeta, (now FarmHouse Fraterntiy, ATZ Chapter), just to name a few.
After graduation in 1999 Dr. Kitchel spent a few years teaching agriculture and serving as the FFA advisor at Archbold High School where he met his wife Laura, who at the time was the choir teacher across the hall.
Returning back to school to earn his PhD in agricultural education from the University of Missouri in 2002, Dr. Kitchel then spent the next decade teaching both undergraduate and graduate classes, serving as director of graduate studies, as well as serving as assistant vice provost for graduate and postdoctoral affairs. His work took him to the University of Kentucky as well as back to the University of Missouri.
“When I had the opportunity to return home in a role allowing me to provide leadership for a department where I fell in love with higher education, I jumped at the chance. My career has come full circle from Ohio to Missouri to Kentucky back to Missouri and now back to Ohio,” Kitchel said.
Growing up on a hog and crops farm in northern Preble County, Dr. Kitchel was involved in 4-H and FFA. He attributes this background as being the guiding factor of pursing a career in agricultural education. To students, Dr. Kitchel advises to get involved in as much as you can and to study abroad, as travel will never be this affordable at any other time in your life. While grades are important, he is a firm believer that there is a lot of learning to be had outside of the classroom.
A movie buff in his spare time, the Dr. Kitchel says his basement is decorated in movie posters such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future, Star Trek, Star Wars, and Harry Potter. For vacation, Tracy and his wife Laura – along with their two daughters Isabel and Violet -love going to Disney World.