Talking Shoppe: Born to be a teacher

By Cody McClain ’19
senior, agriscience education

“Go change the tire on my truck!” – Mr. Keck told his class. I heard Mr. Keck tell his class to perform this task when I was completing my early field experience (EFE) for agriscience education at Marysville High School. In Keck’s class, students explore their psychomotor skills and learn to work with their hands.

Mr. Bill Keck is an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Marysville High School. Along with being an agriculture teacher for 33 years, Keck is a farmer in the local Marysville community.

I met Mr. Keck for the first time during my EFE. Mr. Keck primarily teaches agricultural mechanics which include engines, woodworking, welding, electricity, hydraulics and much more. His passion for teaching agricultural mechanics inspired me pursue a minor in agricultural systems management, where I can focus on courses that will prepare me to teach this content. I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing Mr. Keck and hearing about his career teaching agriculture. As I prepare for student teaching this spring, I am looking forward to reflecting and utilizing the knowledge and skills that I learned during my EFE.

“Here is your pilot, he is studying to be a teacher, a job more important than being a pilot.”

 

Pathway to Marysville FFA
Mr. Keck’s passion for agricultural started with growing up on a small hobby farm and raising a few market steers for his supervised agricultural experience (SAE) project for FFA. He had always aimed to be a pilot; however, he was not sure if that was going to be a career, so along with aviation, he studied agricultural mechanization and agricultural education at The Ohio State University. He concentrated on his journey in teaching after he had a pilot, who was teaching Keck to fly, tell Keck that teaching is more important than being a pilot.

Student teaching was the hardest job but very rewarding, said Keck. Dr. Gliem and Dr. Hedges, faculty in the Department of Agricultural Education, were valuable mentors for Keck throughout his student teaching and graduate school experience. After starting his teaching career at Licking County JVS for two years, he then moved to Marysville where he has been for 31 years. He primarily teaches agricultural mechanics, and the content priorities for these courses have changed much in the past 33 years, Keck said. However, his ag mechanic laboratory (a.k.a. “the shop”) has changed with tools and equipment in the past 33 years. When Keck started teaching, he only had buzz box stick welders in his shop, but now he has wire feed welders and a virtual reality arc welder to train his students the fundamentals of welding.

“Teach students to be productive citizens of society. Agricultural education and FFA are great vehicle to do that.”

 

Impactful Teacher and FFA advisor
Keck has been a positive force in the world and impacts the lives of every student who walks into his classroom. He pushes students to be the absolute best that they can be at whatever they want to do. Whether a student wants to be veterinarian or electrician, he guides students to choose career pathways that suit their passion and skills. As an Ag Teacher and FFA advisor, Keck’s ultimate goal is to teach students to be productive citizens of society. He has enriched many lives through hands-on learning. He loves his job and plans to continue to pursue his passion of teaching agriculture and advising FFA members.


“Teaching is an important job.”

 

Importance of Agricultural Education
The bottom line is, teachers need to teach students how to work with their hands. From changing tires to cutting steel, students learn to work with their hands in Keck’s classroom and shop.  Students need to learn psychomotor skills that prepare them to be productive citizens of society when they graduate high school. For Keck himself, learning psychomotor skills has been a lifelong learning experience. These are skills that are difficult to gain but extremely important. Agricultural education is the ideal place for students to learn these skills. As this industry moves forward, he believes we need teachers who teach with their hands, so their students learn those psychomotor skills. Keck played a role in preparing these teachers when he taught the laboratory management and pedagogy course at Ohio State from 2008 to 2012.

“Teachers raise kids, which has made it an important job in society,” said Keck. Ag education is the vehicle to change lives, and as a whole, society needs to continue to advocate and share the importance of agricultural education. From starting out wanting to be a pilot to teaching agriculture for 33 years, Keck has pursued an important and impactful career. He is looking forward to year 34. Keck is a remarkable agriculture educator, and we are grateful to have many like teachers like Keck in our schools across Ohio.

Alumni Spotlight: Dr. R. Kirby Barrick ’70, ’73 M.S., ’80 Ph.D.

 

Dr. Kirby Barrick ’70, ’73 M.S., ’80 Ph.D. is a three-time alum of the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership, with all three degrees concentrating on agricultural education. Now retired dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida and professor emeritis, Barrick resides in Gainesville, Florida. He also served as a member of the ACEL Centennial Endowment committee.

Why did you select to major in agricultural education?
I knew in high school that I wanted to be a teacher. By my junior year I knew I wanted to be a vo-ag teacher. I was greatly influenced by my teacher (John Stimpert); he was the best vo-ag teacher I have ever known!

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
After thinking about going elsewhere, I easily decided on Ohio State. After all, why not – a top college of agriculture and the best agricultural education department in the country.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
I was well-prepared to be a high school vo-ag teacher. Then things just seemed to develop. Obviously, my Ph.D. in teacher education and higher education led me to a faculty position and eventually into administration.

Share with us how you were involved in student life outside of the classroom.
I joined Alpha Gamma Rho and served as a vice-president and then president of the chapter. I was president of the Agricultural Education Society. I served on Ag College Council, and Social Board (determined activities at the Ohio Union), was Homecoming Queen Committee Chair, May Week General Chairman, and a member of the Senior Class Committee. I was initiated into Bucket & Dipper.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
The agricultural education classes, of course, were good and very important for my career objective. I also enjoyed most of the agriculture classes, especially the advanced entomology course.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education?
Dr. Bender and Dr. Warmbrod are clearly at the top of the list. I recall being in the graduate teaching methods course with Dr. Bender. While the content was great, watching and learning from a master teacher was phenomenal. Dr. Warmbrod has many of those same characteristics.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Alpha Gamma Rho continues to be an important part of my life. AGR and FFA made me who I am today as a person. Those were great times for learning and having fun. I still get together with initiation class buddies each year.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
Vocational Agriculture Instructor at Sheridan High School (Northern Local Schools), Thornville, OH.

Share with us where your career has taken you over the years.
Sheridan High School – vo-ag teacher
Ohio Department of Education – assistant state supervisor, Agricultural Education Service
Ohio State University – faculty member in Department of Agricultural Education and then department chair, assistant director of Ohio State University Extension and State 4-H Leader
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Associate Dean, College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental sciences, and professor of Agricultural Education
University of Florida – dean, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and professor of Agricultural Education

What honors and awards have you been presented over your career?

  • Fulbright Specialist, 2009 – 2013; 2017 – 2021
  • International Educator of the Year, University of Florida International Center, 2016
  • NACTA Murray Brown Leadership Award, 2016
  • UF 150thAnniversary Morrill Act Faculty Award, 2012
  • Distinguished Lecturer, American Association for Agricultural Education, 2011
  • Hall of Fame, Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, 2010
  • Honorary State FFA Degree, Florida FFA, 2010
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Ohio State College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, 2005
  • University of Illinois Dads Association Outstanding Faculty Award, 2004
  • Russell Guin Outstanding Agricultural Educator, American Association for Agricultural Education, 2004
  • Distinguished Educator Award, National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, 2001
  • Centennial Award, Alpha Zeta National Honorary Fraternity, 1997
  • Fellow, American Association for Agricultural Education, 1996
  • Outstanding Adviser Award, Ohio State University Agriculture and Natural Resources Student Council, 1996
  • Honorary Member, Agricultural Education Society, Ohio State University, 1991
  • Distinguished Service Award, Ohio Vocational Agriculture Techers Association, 1991
  • Delegate Coordinator Award, National FFA, 1991
  • Ohio State University Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award, 1988 (one of eight awarded annually)
  • Outstanding Young Teacher Award, Ohio State University College of Agriculture, 1986
  • Honorary American Farmer Degree, National FFA Organization, 1985
  • Pomerene Teaching Enhancement Award, Ohio State University College of Agriculture, 1985
  • Outstanding Young Teacher Educator, American Association of Teacher Educators in Agriculture, 1984
  • Honorary State FFA Degree, Ohio FFA Association, 1975

Outside of your career, what organizations or activities are you involved with in your community?

  • Various committees and choirs at five United Methodist Churches: First Gainesville, Gainesville Trinity, First Champaign, Grove City, Faith (West Chester), and Somerset
  • President and member, Alpha Gamma Rho National Board of Directors
  • Board of Directors, The Educational Foundation of Alpha Gamma Rho

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
The department chair is the most important and most difficult position in a university. My term as chair at Ohio State was very rewarding. We had limited funds (I had to “give back” a lot of operating money my first week on the job!!), but the department thrived because we had an outstanding group of undergraduate and graduate students and a devoted faculty and staff. It was a pleasure to serve as chair of the top department in the country and to watch students over the years become successful teachers and Extension agents, university faculty and administrators, and all-around excellent scholars.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Remember that the undergraduate experience is two-fold: being successful in your academic pursuits and developing personal skills that last a lifetime. Work hard, study hard, become involved, and give back to your alma mater.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
I knew in high school that I wanted to teach vocational agriculture. The department was great in helping me develop the skills I needed to begin and advance in a career in teaching and learning as well as in administration. I still enjoy sharing what I learned with others, especially now with university faculty in the U.S. and abroad.

Speaking as the Ohio FFA President in 1966.

 

Senior photo at Ohio State – 1970

 

Awarded as an Honorary American Farmer in 1985.

 

Ohio State’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1988

 

Speaking at the 2007 commencement for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida as dean.

 

 

Teaching in Saudi Arabia in 2018

 

Alumni Spotlight: John Poulson ’87

John Poulson is an agricultural educator at the Pettisville Local Schools. He graduated from Ohio State in 1987 with a master’s degree in agricultural education. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences and agricultural education from Ohio State, which he received in 1981.

[ACEL]: Hi John! Why did you select your majors and graduate program?
[POULSON]: I dual majored in animal science and agriculture education because I thought I wanted to work in the animal industry, but the agricultural education classes showed me the diversity of being involved in many subjects.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
It was the only school in Ohio that offered agriculture and where I could get accepted at automatically.  Plus, my mom and dad both graduated from Ohio State.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
The agriculture education classes, the course professors and student teaching showed me I could teach if I wanted to, and I decided I wanted to.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was involved in several ways with the Agricultural Education Society, I especially remember being co-chair of the banquet two years. I was inducted into Towers Honorary, but I don’t remember much about it. I worked three years in the Meat Lab, which was a great experience and I have used those skills often.  My last two quarters on campus I was in-charge of clean-up there.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I enjoyed several classes and it was usually because of the professor or teacher being engaging and challenging.  I especially remember the agricultural education series of 100, 200 and 330 which prepared us for the classroom.  Professors included: Drs. Peters, Knight and Newcomb.  In animal science I enjoyed 200 with Dr. Plimpton, the meat courses with Dr. Parrot and animal nutrition with TizWiz. I think Dr. Hedges did the most to make us think that the problem solving approach is the best method of teaching, then and now.

I also enjoyed taking archery and bowling.

Most professors impacted my career if they gave us material to use in class and methods to use them.  After 36 years of teaching and working in the industry, I use parts of their materials on a daily basis.  The ones mentioned above plus Drs. Gleem, Erving, Papritan II, Lichtensteiger, Conners, Burke and more, some of which I can’t remember.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
I lived in Norton House all four years and those times spent with many friends made lasting memories which include meeting my wife, Lexie Zenz.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
In 1981 I became the vocational agriculture teacher at Crestview High School in Richland and Ashland counties.

Are there other places you have worked throughout your career?
I worked as the agricultural educator and FFA advisor and helped start an alumni group at Crestview until 1988 (7 years). Then was an organization director for Ohio Farm Bureau in Henry, Fulton and Williams Counties for 2 years.  In 1990 I started at Pettisville Schools as the ag teacher and FFA Advisor and have helped start an alumni group here.

During your career, honors or awards have you been presented?
I have been named an OAAE Outstanding Young Teacher, Fulton County SWCD Outstanding Supporter, Honorary American FFA Degree recipient and a NAAE AgScience Teacher of the Year.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My favorite career highlight is seeing the number of students who excel in the agriculture industry at the local, state and national levels.  It is gratifying to know the affect they have had in the industry.  I also see the many students who work in other industries but still know and love what agriculture means to our world.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Learn to learn and keep learning, with your students, employees, and customers.  Be open to working harder to help reach goals for others as well as yourself.  And, figure out how to get your family involved with what you like to do so that work can sometimes be a hobby too.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
The support that people in the college have given me as a teacher over the years has helped.  It wasn’t just during college but in many of the years since.  Like Dr. Henderson during my first years of teaching, L.H. during my master’s program and various OAAE activities.  More recently the interactions of helping Dr. Whittington teach about high school recordkeeping and working with ACEL for summer conference programming have made me a better teacher.

The best thing that can come from this celebration is the understanding that agriculturalists need a team of educators in the industry, the classroom, the research labs, etc that know what others are doing.

 

Alumni Spotlight: Rose Smith, ’06

[ACEL]: Hi Rose! Why did you choose to major in agricultural education?
[Smith]: I knew I wanted to be involved in informal agricultural education, educating the general public about where their food comes from. I didn’t know if that meant working in the United States or overseas, but I did know that majoring in agricultural education would prepare me best for my future career.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
It’s the best! My high school guidance counselor encouraged me attend Ohio State knowing I wanted to teach agriculture, but not necessarily in the classroom. I attended classes at OSU-Lima for the first two years of my education, as they were offering evening classes locally in Bellefontaine. This was perfect as it allowed me to work full time during the day and attend small classes in the evening. Once it was time to focus on my major, it was an easy transition to main campus.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My education at Ohio State opened my eyes to what a huge need there is for educating consumers on the food supply and food systems. I have worked in the organic industry for over six years now and the desire for people to know how their food is raised is higher now than ever before.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
My favorite job was working at the RPAC. It had just opened when I began working there. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet such a diverse group of students and I still run into my former boss on a regular basis, mainly when tailgating before football games!

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? 
I really enjoyed the “Block” set up, spending large chunks of time with some of my closest college friends, knowing we were all working on the same thing was interesting.

Some of my other favorite classroom memories happened because my brother and I had the same major, and he was only a few quarters ahead of me, so occasionally we would have classes together. Those classes were always more challenging because we were fairly competitive with each other on anything where there could be the slightest bit of competition, so I would always try a little harder in those classes. He would also make me buy the book, saying we would “share it”… I never saw those books again.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education/career? 
There are a few that stand out, but Dr. Susie Whittington probably made the largest impact on me. She has a super power of knowing the special skills of each student and where they would fit best once leaving college. She has the great ability of encouraging students just when they need it most and nudging them in the right direction. She was a big part of me getting my first job after college. Just recently, I was visiting with her at a wedding, discussing women doing jobs that historically were held my men. Though I already knew it, it was an amazing reminder of what a trail blazer she is, leading the way for woman to teach agriculture in a variety of formats.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
What a hard question! There are so many, but one that is coming to mind is the 2002 Ohio State vs. Michigan Game. The game was obviously amazing and unbelievable. Digital cameras weren’t in full swing yet, and everyone was still using film cameras. I remember walking to the CVS on the corner of High and Lane to drop my film off the next day and there was a pile of film several feet tall that had been turned in to be developed. The girl behind the counter looked at me, with this look of panic on her face and firmly said, “It’s going to be a longer than an hour”. It was just the reminder of what a historic this had happened the day before. It was exciting being a part of it.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I worked as an Outreach Educator at COSI. I traveled to elementary schools putting on an assembly of a specific topic, then spent the rest of the day working with smaller classes doing hands on science experiments. The most valuable thing I got from working there was a strong ability to be independent. It was me and a box truck full of science equipment traveling all over Ohio and the surrounding states. Plus, who wouldn’t love a job where it was normal to shoot off a rocket any given day?

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
After COSI, I worked for just about a year at FFA Camp Muskingum. A job opportunity became available working in the organic industry in Bellefontaine, so I moved back home. I worked for two different organic certification agencies, Global Organic Alliance and Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, before landing what has become my dream job at Organic Valley. As a regional pool manager, I work with a dairy farmers that are currently organic and shipping milk with Organic Valley, as well as the farmers that are in transition to organic production. Organic Valley is a farmer-owned cooperative, and it is an honor to work with organic farmers who are working hard to keep their families farming by producing organic products.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors? 
It isn’t an official award or honor, but I am the first female regional pool manager that works remotely for Organic Valley. Since I was hired there have been three additional women hired. There was a lot of discussion on how farmers would handle having a woman as their manager, but it has turned out just fine. I had been working at Organic Valley for about a month when I stopped at a farm to take a farmer out to lunch. While we were eating he said, “You know this is no job for a woman”. I had no idea how to respond. Since then, I have formed a great relationship with him and he has actually told me, “They hired the right woman for this job”, which is a huge complement.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I love being able to offer farmers a market for their milk. I remember one spring day about two years ago, when I was going through the contract we complete with farmers when they join the co-op. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day, so we sat at the picnic table in his yard and completed the paperwork. I will never forget the happiness the farmer was showing, as this meant he could be a full time farmer and no longer needed to work at his factory job. Though there are really tough parts of this job, it is always a highlight when I get to offer a contact to a farmer!

What advice would you give to a current student?
Pay attention in class! There have been so many times that I need to do something in my current career, and I remember vaguely some teacher talking about this sometime in college, but I wasn’t really paying close attention. My life would be a lot easier now if I wasn’t going back to relearn all of those things. A perfect example, I remember mildly paying attention when we learned about calculating dry matter in a feed ration, thinking I would never need to know how to do this. I calculate dry matter for farmers almost weekly now. I should have paid attention.

What did ACEL cultivate in you? 
My professors knew I had no intention of teaching in the classroom, but knew that the skills taught in the agricultural education major would be incredibly useful in informal education as well. This showed me that education isn’t a cookie cutter approach and that education is about life skills and not just grades on a paper.

Alumni Spotlight: Ken Parrott ’89

 

Ken Parrott lives in Lexington, Ohio and is currently the agricultural education teacher at Northmor High School in Northern Morrow county.

Why did you select your major or graduate program?
Back in the 1980’s you could dual major so my degree was ag education/animal science. I originally wanted to be a veterinarian, but my family background of education, especially in ag education, rubbed off on me.  My family is full of teachers and my grandfather, Ralph Howard, was a key part of starting FFA in Ohio serving as both executive secretary and Sstate advisor in the infancy of Ohio FFA.  My active involvement in the FFA in high school influenced me to become an ag teacher.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
Several reasons influenced my decision.  My father was a graduate of Ohio State.  The rest of my older siblings all went to Muskingum, but knowing that I wanted to pursue a degree in agriculture made Ohio State an easy choice.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your career path?
I had some great professors and great experiences at the Ohio State University in both the ag education and animal sciences departments.  But, when this new guy named Dr. Jamie Cano arrived to the Department of Agricultural Education and I had a few classes with him, I knew that I was making a right choice in my career decision.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was very involved in the Alpha Gamma Sigma fraternity, Agriculture Education Society and Saddle and Sirloin. My first year and a half of college I worked on the slaughter floor at the OSU Meat Lab and then the last couple of years I lived and worked at the Sheep Center and worked for Ron Guenther.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
That is a tough one cause I had so many great instructors in both ag education and animal science.  My love for livestock made many of my animal courses some of my favorites. Anyone that ever had Dr. Tyznik for any nutrition classes could never forget his presence and influence.  I always enjoyed my advanced animal science classes with Dr. Steve Baertsche.  I had some memorable experiences with Dr. Lowel Hedges in the ag ed department and I had the nicest advisor in the world, Dr. Jan Henderson.  But without a doubt, the professor that influenced me the most and I enjoyed thoroughly attending his classes was Dr. Jamie Cano.

Dr. Cano had the biggest influence on me. He was brand new to Ohio State and was trying hard to make an impression. He recognized a talent of teaching in me and pushed me hard to excel. His instruction greatly influenced who I am today.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State
There are a lot of them and it would be hard to picked my favorite. Probably most of stories I share revolve around my experiences with Alpha Gamma Sigma. We had a lot of fun back then and I experienced college with a lot of great people.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
When I graduated in 1989, ag teaching openings at the time were pretty scarce.  I took the first job I interviewed for and that was a teaching position at Lincolnview High School near Van Wert, Ohio. A year later I moved closer to home at Highland High School. The following year, my home school, Northmor High School, called me home and I have been here for the last twenty-seven years.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I have been fortunate to helped a lot of students achieve their FFA dreams.  I have coached many successful FFA teams at the state level as well.  I have also been blessed to have my own three kids in my program and without a doubt, my son Zach winning the State FFA Sheep Proficiency Award has to be right up there as one of my favorite career highlights.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Take advantage of ALL that Ohio State has to offer.  Your education is important but the university experience is just as important. Get involved in as many things as you can handle whether it be the greek system or student clubs and organizations.

Alumni Spotlight: Amy Miller ’99

Amy Miller is currently a State NFIP Coordinator in Nashville, Tennessee. She graduated in 1999 with her bachelors in agricultural education.

[ACEL]: Why did you select your major or graduate program?
[Miller]: I’m a little bit country and a little bit rock-n-roll.  My undergraduate degree is in Agricultural Education and my graduate degree is in City and Regional Planning.  My programs were selected because I enjoy working on complex issues, finding solutions and improving the quality of life for citizens.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I chose to attend The Ohio State University due to the friendly atmosphere that permeates throughout campus, the plethora of quality academic curriculum that will endure throughout one’s college and professional career, and the outstanding football program.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My degree in Agricultural Education influenced my career path to work with various stakeholders regarding the preservation of agriculture.  My studies enabled me to take a complex issue and simplify into a message regarding the value of agriculture on the community.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was involved in Campus Crusade for Christ, Collegiate 4-H, and City and Regional Planning Student Association.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I enjoyed my City and Regional Planning classes.  My favorite was Planning Places with People in Mind.  This class focuses on the relationship between the built environment and humans and the importance of environmental design geared towards its inhabitants.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education/career?
Dr. Scott Scheer had the biggest impact on my education and career while a student at The Ohio State University.   He was authentic, approachable, trustworthy and fun.  Whenever I needed to talk to someone, he was always there to listen and offer advice.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
My favorite memory was Ohio State beating the TTUN and rushing the field in 1998 to celebrate the victory.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first job was the Farmland Preservation Coordinator at the Wayne County Planning Department.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career and what were your responsibilities in those positions?
My first job was Wayne County Ohio, Farmland Preservation Coordinator working with landowners to permanently preserve farmland throughout the county.  After moving to Nashville, Tennessee, I worked for the Local Planning Assistance Office as a Regional Planner assisting 6 communities with development proposals and enforcing subdivision and zoning regulations.  After this experience, I worked as a Budget Analyst for the State of Tennessee analyzing budgets for various agencies in regards to revenue and expenditure forecasts.  My current job is the State of Tennessee National Flood Insurance Program Coordinator.  I support 400 communities with floodplain regulation interpretation, enforcement issues and statewide training.

During your career, honors or awards have you been presented?
During my career, I coordinated 62 grant applications from Wayne County landowners in 2002, for the Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program which was the most in the state and was a tremendous honor to work with each applicant.  In addition, I worked with Rails to Trails of Wayne County to secure an ODOT grant of $2.1 million to construction a 6.75 mile rails-to-trails project.  Under my leadership, Tennessee became the 2nd in the nation to initiate the Certified Floodplain Surveyor program, certifying surveyors in FEMA Elevation Certificate preparation and Letter of Map Changes.

Outside of your career, are you involved in any organizations or activities in your community?
I am a volunteer at the Tennessee Prison for Women.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My favorite career highlight was in 2001, attempting a 0.25% sales tax increase to fund a local Purchase of Development Rights Program in Wayne County, Ohio.  The program would allow farmers to voluntarily sell an agricultural easement on their property and have the land remain in agricultural production in perpetuity.  Although the initiative failed, we had a great public awareness campaign and continued interest in preserving local farmland that exists today.

What advice would you give to a current student?
What you do will not get you up in the morning.  Why you do it is what will keep you going.  Emotion is the key.

What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
The Department of Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership cultivated in me adaptability.  Whether in my career or life, I have to have flexibility in handling change, being able to juggle multiple demands and adapt to new ideas with innovative approaches.

Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Ed Osborne ’82 Ph.D.

Dr. Ed Osborne ’82 completed a doctoral degree in agricultural education at Ohio State. He is currently at the University of Florida as a professor of agricultural education.

[ACEL]: Why did you decide to get a doctoral degree in agricultural education?
[Osborne]: I’ve always loved the schooling environment and the field of agriculture, so becoming a high school agriculture teacher was an obvious career choice for me. After teaching at the high school level for four years, I had an unexpected opportunity to teach in the agricultural education program at Virginia Tech for one year and discovered that I enjoyed teaching at the college level even more (I loved both).

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
Ohio State was THE place to earn a Ph.D. degree in agricultural education in the 1980s, and one of the faculty members there (Dr. Larry Miller) had been one of my professors in my undergraduate program at Virginia Tech. He had been encouraging me to pursue a Ph.D. degree for several years.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My doctoral experience at Ohio State really stretched my perspectives in many ways and gave me a great foundation as a beginning agricultural education faculty member. Ohio State, Columbus, and the Midwest presented a dramatically different academic and community environment for me, compared to my rural southwest Virginia roots. I’ve always loved learning, and the opportunity to learn and broaden my perspectives seemed endless at Ohio State. My experiences there solidified my decision to become a university agricultural education faculty member.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State graduate student?
As a graduate student, I was involved in our graduate student organization and honorary societies. In addition, the large and diverse graduate student community in the department at Ohio State made for a wonderful doctoral experience.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I really enjoyed the research series (methods, design, data analysis). The professors in these courses (Miller and Warmbrod) were simply outstanding and made the concepts and principles very easy to understand. I also thoroughly enjoyed serving as a TA for Dr. Newcomb in his teaching methods course. He was a master at teaching the problem solving approach, and his expertise and effectiveness in this course were perhaps the best I have ever seen to this day.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education/career?
The three faculty member’s that impacted me the most during my time at Ohio State were Drs. Miller, Warmbrod, and Newcomb. Dr. Miller was an outstanding academic advisor and teacher, and Dr. Warmbrod and Dr. Newcomb were superb teachers. In addition, I always admired Dr. Warmbrod’s ability to find the simple in the complex, whether it was a concept in teaching or data analysis or a controversial discussion at a professional conference.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
My graduation day, of course, stands out. Probably my favorite memories were from all of the time our graduate student group spent together at socials, going to football games, and playing on our intramural water polo team. We rocked!

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first job after earning my Ph.D. degree from Ohio State was that of visiting assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (I was appointed to an assistant professor position the following year.)

Where has your professional career taken you since you graduated from Ohio State?
 I’ve worked at only two institutions since earning my Ph.D. degree at Ohio State in 1982. I began at the University of Illinois and continued there for 15 years as a faculty member in teacher education. This involved teaching and advising undergraduate and graduate students, conducting research, and providing teacher professional development programs. I was appointed Chair of the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida in 1997 and remained in that position until July 2016. I returned to the faculty thereafter and currently teach graduate seminars, advise graduate students, and conduct research and extension programs focused on teacher well-being and personal resilience. I have also facilitated strategic planning sessions for more than 40 university, professional, and community-based organizations.

During your career, honors or awards have you been presented?
Outstanding Service Citation, National Association of Agricultural Educators, Region V (2014); Distinguished Leadership Award of Merit, UF Chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta (2011); Distinguished Lecturer, American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE) (2010); Outstanding Agricultural Educator, AAAE (2007); AAAE Fellow (2007); President, The National Council for Agricultural Education (2005); President, AAAE (2004-05); Outstanding Instructor, College of Agriculture, University of Illinois (1992); AAAE Outstanding Young Member (1988). I was also coordinator and primary instructor for the UF/IFAS faculty/staff leadership development program for 10 years.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My tenure as department chair at the University of Florida was very fulfilling. We experienced remarkable growth in all areas, fueled by superb faculty and students and strong support from administration and stakeholders. The most rewarding aspect of this work was the opportunity to help people discover and pursue their potential, whether students, faculty, teachers, staff, leaders, or others.
 

What advice would you give to a current student?
Enjoy the student experience, but never lose sight of your highest priority as a student – learning as much as you can, stretching your perspectives, building personal and professional connections, continuing to discover your interests and potential, and performing well academically.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
I believe my doctoral program at Ohio State gave me the confidence to step into new arenas and be a contributing member in all types of team environments. My experiences at OSU built the foundation for my work as a faculty member, a position I continue to genuinely love today (decades later).

ACEL Spotlight: Dr. Jan Henderson ’74, ’80 MS

Jan Henderson is from Bay Village, Ohio and currently lives in Westlake where she works for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, as a Senior Capacity Development Specialist.

Why did you select your major of agricultural education?
I wanted to combine my love of horticulture and my love for people; majoring in agricultural education was a natural choice. My original intent was to pursue a career in horticulture therapy; I completed my “student teaching” experience at Harding Hospital (a non-profit psychiatric facility in Worthington, Ohio) before returning to campus to fulfill course requirements for my teaching certificate.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
Ohio State was far enough away, but not too far from my home town; the university was affordable and had an excellent School of Social Work which was my initial career interest. I had no previous contact with or knowledge of the University or Columbus before enrolling in fall quarter 1970.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your career path?
My bachelor’s and master’s degrees provided me with the foundation and credentials to pursue not only careers in teaching at the secondary and university levels, but also expanded opportunities to work internationally with non-profit organizations.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I loved all of my horticulture classes, even the dreaded Plant ID course with Dr. D.C. “Kip” Kiplinger. However, as the only female (and usually the only non-farm student) in my undergraduate agricultural education and ag science classes I did not always feel welcomed. What a wonderful change has occurred as more women have enrolled in the department and have joined the faculty.

Did a faculty member have a particular impact on your education and/or career?
Dr. Leon Boucher provided much needed reassurance and support during my first year of teaching. I was substituting for a teacher who had suffered a heart attack and those initial visits from Dr. Boucher kept me focused, encouraged, and determined not to give up; he was my biggest cheerleader. As I began teaching I was at somewhat of a disadvantage by not having taken vocational agriculture in high school and being unfamiliar with the FFA. John Davis and Odell Miller, from the State Department of Education, became my patient “teachers” spending many hours gladly answering my questions during our times together at FFA Camp.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
A favorite memory is participating in the Little International Livestock Show when I was a sophomore; for a “city girl” with no farm background handling my Charolais heifer was quite an experience!

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first job was teaching 11th grade horticulture at Penta County Joint Vocational School in Rossford, Ohio in March 1975.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career and what were your responsibilities in those positions?

Horticulture Instructor at Penta County Joint Vocational School, Tri-Rivers Joint Vocational School, and Upper Valley Joint Vocational School

Graduate Teaching Assistant, Agricultural and Extension Education, Mississippi State University

Visiting Assistant Professor, Agricultural Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Associate Professor, Agricultural Education, The Ohio State University

Planning, Evaluation, and Training Coordinator, Heifer International

Senior Capacity Development Specialist, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

 During your career, what honors or awards have you been presented?

Outstanding Leadership Award, Association for International Agricultural and Extension  Education, 2000

Outstanding Advisor, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, 1998

Rodney Plimpton Outstanding Teacher Award, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, 1995

Outstanding Young Scholar, University Council for Vocational Education, 1987

Outstanding Young Teacher, Ohio Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association, District 6, 1978

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My favorite career highlights are the times I have spent with students: taking my high school students to FFA Camp and the National FFA Convention; listening to my undergraduate advisees consider their career options; visiting and encouraging our student teachers and first-year teachers; collecting data with my doctoral students in their home countries; and finding ways to make statistics more enjoyable and understandable for my graduate students.

What advice would you give to a current student?
I would encourage students to consider enrolling in a study abroad program. Studying in a foreign country exposes students to different ways of being and knowing, to a better understanding of themselves and other cultures, and to new interests, languages, and lifelong friendships.  I understand that not every student can afford to study abroad due to financial, work, or family constraints; therefore I would encourage all students to take advantage of any opportunity to encounter and engage with diverse settings and cultures in the U.S.; diversity is all around us if we open our eyes and hearts.

 What did ACEL cultivate in you?
ACEL cultivated a commitment to excellence in teaching, research, and service through the faculty and staff who nurtured and supported my education; who had a genuine interest in my well-being and future. I have strived to emulate these role models during my own career journey.

Alumni Spotlight: Dr. M. Susie Whittington ’82, ’88 MS, ’91 PhD

Dr. Susie Whittington is a three-time graduate of our department. She currently serves as the director for the University’s Second-Year Transformational Experience program and is a professor of agriscience education.

She graduated from Ohio State in 1982 with her bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and went on to receive her master’s and PhD in agricultural education in 1988 and 1991, respectively.

[ACEL]: Why did you choose to major in agricultural education?
[Whittington]: I came to Ohio State knowing I was planning to be a high school agricultural science teacher. At that time, all students entered Ohio State through UVC (University College), and were not to enroll in a major for several quarters. To enter a major, students had to meet with the undergraduate coordinator in the major; for agricultural education, that was Dr. L.H. Newcomb. I nervously met with him my first quarter, received the typical “drilling” about why I wanted to become an agricultural science teacher, was enrolled in the major that day, and was hired by him that day to be a work-study student for Dr. Jim Knight.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
For a rural Ohio kid at that time, there was no other place to consider! However, I never planned to go to college. As a high school agricultural science student, one of my agricultural science teachers brought me to campus. He told me I needed to be a high school agricultural science teacher and I needed to go to Ohio State. As a first-generation college student, my agricultural science teacher was a pseudo-parent in the college conversation. He showed me how to navigate the necessary college entry processes.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My education at The Ohio State University prepared me to have the confidence I needed to be a 23 year old, accepting the opportunity to re-open a high school agricultural science program that had been closed.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
As an Ohio State student, I embraced everything the college and department had to offer! I worked for the department as a work-study student for three years and I worked for Extension my senior year both before and after student teaching. I was fortunate to serve as president of the Agricultural Education Society, secretary of the CFAES Student Council (CAHENR at the time!), Little I Queen in Saddle and Sirloin Club, and a Little Sis in Alpha Zeta Fraternity (now FarmHouse).

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I enjoyed the entire curriculum that was required to complete an agricultural education degree and to acquire an Ohio teaching license.  From my educational psychology classes to my animal nutrition class, I appreciated the knowledge the classes were providing in preparation for my career objective. I most loved, however, EVERY class in the Department of Agricultural Education and the professors who taught them: Dr. Newcomb, Dr. Knight, Dr. Hedges, Dr. Henderson, Dr. Starling, Dr. Boucher, Dr. Rossetti and Dr. Ray Miller were highly influential. In addition, during my MS and PhD courses in the department, I was influenced by Dr. Warmbrod, Dr. Barrick, Dr. Blannie Bowen, Dr. Budke, Dr. McCracken, Dr. Larry Miller, Dr. Paulson, Dr. VanTilburg-Norland, Dr. Agunga, Dr. Gliem and Dr. McCaslin. The graduate assistants, at that time, and forever in this department, play a significant role in the preparation of our students…that was very true for me.  Of course, given that my favorite class I teach today is Methods of Teaching, it is no surprise that my all-time favorite class was Methods of Teaching with Dr. Newcomb.

Did a faculty member have a specific impact on your time at Ohio State?
As stated in a previous question, I am professionally a genetic make-up of every professor, graduate assistant, and staff member in this department from 1978 to today. However, I believe that most of us who have earned a PhD might say that our major professor influenced our thinking for a life-time; my major professor was Dr. Newcomb.

What is your favorite Ohio State memory?
Outside of room 246 Ag Admin, Dr. Knight introduced me to Pat Whittington. The rest is history!

What was your first job following your undergraduate education?
I was the high school agricultural science teacher at Wellington High School in Loraine County.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career and what were your responsibilities in those positions?

Wellington High School
The University of Idaho
The Pennsylvania State University
The Ohio State University.

Share the honors and awards you have been presented during your career.

National Award for Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences, from The United States Department of Agriculture, and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities

Teaching Excellence Award, from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture

Outstanding Student Organization Advisor Award, from The Ohio Union and The Office of Student Affairs, The Ohio State University

Josephine Sitterle Failer Award, for outstanding service to Ohio State students, from The Ohio State University Alumni Association

Academy of Fellows, from the American Association for Agricultural Education

Teacher Fellow, from the North American Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture

Distinguished Researcher Award, from the American Association for Agricultural Education

Author of the Year Award, from the Journal of Agricultural Education

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
It is hard to write into words the capstone of emotions that are felt each time I experience the incredible opportunity to hood a new PhD at The Ohio State University commencement ceremonies.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Embrace engagement in at least one opportunity in each of the following: your department, your college, your university, and the City of Columbus.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
ACEL cultivated in me a passion for assisting students in achieving their career objective.

Agricultural Education Society with John Mount and University President E. Gordon Gee during the 125th anniversary of the organization.

Dr. Whittington with Dr. LH Newcomb.

Dr. Whittington’s office in the former 208 suite of Agricultural Administration.

The Whittington Family and Archie Griffin.

One year from today, this could be you!

Olivia visited Washington DC this past semester with a delegation from Ohio Farm Bureau.

Hello seniors –

I just completed my first semester at Ohio State as an agriscience education major! My first semester was filled with passionate professors, great new friends and even more.

Through Ohio State’s ACEL program I have been able to learn from great and experienced professors that I believe are setting me up for success in the future. Along with amazing experiences in the classroom, I’m currently participating in my first study abroad trip to Nicaragua where I’ll be learning about agriculture from global perspective.

I hope you’ll consider joining me at Ohio State as a Buckeye next year!
Go Bucks!
Olivia

 

 

Yesterday was the last day of final exams for students at The Ohio State University. One year from today, you could be done with your first semester as an Ohio State Buckeye! Doesn’t that sound exciting?

If you are interested in becoming an Ohio State Buckeye, visit apply.osu.edu to complete your application. Applications for Autumn 2018 admission are due February 1, 2018. If you haven’t already visited campus, schedule an “Experience Ohio State for a Day” visit to learn more about the majors of agricultural communication, agriscience education and community leadership.