Tom Archer came to Ohio State to major in agricultural education and has spent his career educating others about agriculture and working with youth. Tom currently works for Ohio State University Extension as the assistant director for 4-H Youth Development.
[ACEL]: Hi Tom! As an Ohio State student, you majored in agricultural education. Why did you chose that major?
[Archer]: I selected agricultural education as a major because I was not sure what I wanted my career to be, and that major provided the opportunity for flexibility in selecting a wide variety courses.
Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I selected The Ohio State University for two reasons: (1) I had much contact with Extension and 4-H in my formative years, which were closely aligned with OSU, e.g. I was delegate to the Ohio 4-H Congress on campus in the Fall of 1965; and (2) My high school basketball coach was a native of my home county and a recent graduate and enthusiastic supporter of Ohio State.
Where you involved in any student organizations while a student?
I am a member of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity. Also, I was a member of the Agricultural Education Society (vice-president my senior year) and a member of Towers Agricultural Honorary (president my senior year).
What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? What was your favorite and why?
I enjoyed math and the classes that related to educational research. However, probably the most memorable class that I took when I was a senior was a graduate level ruminant nutrition class taught by Dr. Bill Tyznik. The final in Dr. Tyznik’s class was a three hour, group, oral exam in the basement of his house! Another memorable class was Classics 222 – Greek Mythology. I cannot remember the name of the professor, but he made each class a “story time”, with engaging and entertaining lectures.
Did you have a faculty member or professor who was influential to your time at Ohio State and beyond?
Two professor had an influence on my education. Dr. Leon Boucher was always interested in students and he shared so many practical approaches to teaching. Also, I greatly admire Dr. Robert Warmbrod. I was in the Honors Program Research/ Evaluation class that Dr. Warmbrod and Dr. Boucher taught, plus at least three other related classes taught by Dr. Warmbrod (one at Iowa State when Dr. Warmbrod was a visiting professor). Dr. Warmbrod was a very effective teacher who explained concepts very well in a quiet and purposeful manner. Other professors that were memorable were Gilbert Guiler, Carlton Johnson and David Jenkins.
What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Meeting and becoming friends and colleagues with many outstanding people are the best general memories of my time as an undergraduate at Ohio State.
What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first employment was as a vocational agriculture high school teacher at Olentangy High School in Delaware County.
For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
- Assistant Director, 4-H Youth Development (State 4-H Leader), Ohio State University Extension, September 2008 to present
- Associate Professor, The Ohio State University, Leader, Program Development & Evaluation, Ohio State University Extension, October 2000 to September 2008
- Associate Professor and Analyst, Long Range Planning, Ohio Cooperative Extension Service, Interim Appointment March through September, 1987
- Associate Professor, The Ohio State University, County Extension Agent, Chairman and 4-H, Shelby County, Ohio, July 1985 through September 2000
- Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University, County Extension Agent, Chairman and 4-H, Shelby County, Ohio, December 1976 through June 1985
- Organizational Director – Auglaize-Mercer-Shelby Counties, Ohio, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, July through November 1976
- Graduate Research Associate, Iowa State University, July 1974 through May 1976
- Vocational Agriculture Instructor, Olentangy and Delaware Hayes High Schools, July 1970 through June 1974
What awards and honors have you received during your career?
- 1990, Excellence in 4-H, Ohio State University Extension
- 1992, Diamond Anniversary Award, Department of Agricultural Education, The Ohio State University
- 1999, Past President Award, Board of Directors, Journal of Extension
- 2001, Ohio County Extension Agents’’ Association, 25 Year Service Award
- 2004, Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) Team Teaching Award: “Focus Group Interviews”
- 2006, Roberta O’Keefe Award for outstanding service to the organization, Ohio Program Evaluators’ Group (OPEG)
- 2007, Team Teaching Award – First Place, Multi-Disciplinary Team – 5 or More Members, Epsilon Sigma Phi, Extension Service Honorary
- 2007, State Extension Achievement Award – Faculty & Staff, Over Ten Years of Service, Ohio Association of Extension Professionals
- 2016 Fairlawn High School Hall of Honor Inductee
- 2016 Shelby County 4-H Hall of Fame Inductee
As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
The best thing that happens as a result of my career is when a former student who was in my classes or youth who was in one of the 4-H teen leadership groups that I advised contacts me and tells me that I provided them a skill that has helped them succeed in their life endeavors.
What advice would you give to a current student?
Advice that I would give to current college students has five dimensions:
- Follow through on commitments – if you say you are going to do something, follow-through and do it
- Take advantage of every opportunity afforded to you; do as much as you can when you have the opportunities, in school, in work, and in the community – do not waste time and potential
- Positively contribute to improvement where every you can – do not criticize without providing a viable alternative to improve
- Give credit where credit is due – do not take credit for someone else’s work
- Do not forget to recognize those who help make your life better; you cannot say “thank you” too much
What did ACEL cultivate in you?
Probably the best thing that the Department instilled in me was the basics of the teaching-learning process. My career has been education, and that foundation was necessary.