Dr. Jack Elliot received his Ph.D. from Ohio State in 1988. Following faculty positions at Michigan State University and the University of Arizona, Elliot is now a professor and endowed chair for International Agricultural and Extension Education at Texas A&M University.
[ACEL]: Hello Dr. Elliot! Why did you decide to get a doctoral degree in agricultural education?
[Elliot]: During my high school agricultural education teaching career, I experienced some very memorable and exciting interactions with students, administrators, and community members. My wife and I decided to further my education with a Ph.D. in agricultural education so I could work with others to improve the profession at every level, junior high, senior high, and postsecondary.
Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
My wife and I attended the National FFA Convention in 1985 and visited many of the university booths at the career show. When we asked for a list of the top three graduate programs, The Ohio State University was the only university on everyone’s list.
How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career?
I admired the Ohio State faculty because of their professionalism and involvement within field. They served as my role models during my entire career.
What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was inducted within the Gamma Sigma Delta, International Honor Society of Agriculture. During my final year at Ohio State, I was president of the Agricultural Education Graduate Student Organization.
What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
Dr. Dave McCracken taught one of the “research series” courses and I enjoyed his teaching style, the way he assessed student knowledge, and his humor.
What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education and career?
In addition to Dr. McCracken, most of the faculty had positive impacts on my career. However, I did have a difficult time one spring, a medical situation. Dr. L.H. Newcomb provided some gentle support and guidance. I always remembered his sincerity and concern and have tried to emulate that attribute in my career.
What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Our family visited many of the presidential sites within the state. We love history and wanted to create memories for our children who were 4 and 9 when we arrived in Columbus.
What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
There were very few tenure track positions in 1988 when I graduated. A one-year visiting assistant professor position at Michigan State University was available and they hired me. I was able to stay for four years because other opportunities presented themselves which provided funding so I could stay.
For what schools have you worked throughout your career?
After Michigan State, I had a 17 year career at the University of Arizona where I moved through the ranks to professor and became the department chair the final three years before I moved to Texas A&M.
Share with us any awards or honors you have received throughout your career.
2004 Outstanding Post Secondary CTE Educator (Region V), Association for Career and Technical Education
2010 Senior Scientist, Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University
2011 Distinguished Service, Association for Career and Technical Education Research
2012 Senior Fellow, American Association for Agricultural Education
2012 Senior Fellow, Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education
2014 Outstanding Agricultural Educator, American Association for Agricultural Education
2016 Distinguished Alumni of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, The Ohio State University
2018 Endowed Chair, International Agricultural and Extension Education, Texas A&M University
As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I love watching former students succeed. For example, Samantha Alvis recently completed her Ph.D. and is now the Higher Education Officer at USAID.
What advice would you give to a current student?
Dr. Newcomb told me that 95% of what you will face after you leave Ohio State will not be covered by the courses you completed, but the 5% will provide the foundation so you can address and handle almost any situation. That advice is still relevant today.
What did ACEL cultivate in you?
The most important attribute is a sense of professionalism. Always take the higher ground and treat others as you would like to be treated.