News Release: Filson named recipient of university distinguished teaching award

Dr. Caryn Filson, assistant professor of agriscience education, received Ohio State’s 2021 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. This announcement came during the annual retreat for the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) and was presented when Provost Bruce McPheron, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) Dean Cathann A. Kress and colleagues made a surprise visit to the virtual meeting.

The Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching annually recognizes no more than 10 faculty members across the university for their teaching excellence. Students, faculty, and alumni may nominate faculty; and a committee of students, previous recipients, and alumni choose the recipients. Filson was nominated by multiple agriscience education students for her outstanding teaching.

A three-time graduate of Ohio State’s agricultural education program, Filson joined the ACEL faculty in 2014. In her role, Filson teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on campus and at a distance, coordinates and assess field experience placements for the agriscience education program, facilitates program efforts to meet university teacher licensure accreditation and manages initial licensure requirements for the preservice agriscience education program.

“Our department, and especially our students, are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Filson as an instructor and mentor,” said Dr. Shannon Washburn, professor and chair of ACEL. “Students are consistently praising her as a teacher, which is important as she helps prepare dozens of students each year to be middle school and high school agriscience teachers.”

Filson has taught a variety of classes within the major including graduate research methods, theories of learning and cognition, leading through historical perspectives, evaluation in agriscience education, methods of teaching agriscience education, contextual learning in agriscience education and exploration in agricultural communication, education, and leadership.

In her award nomination, a student nominator said “she combines her years as an agriscience teacher, professor, and student into one perspective that she shares with her students to provide background knowledge, new ideas, and incite thought-provoking questions. Her teaching technique is impeccable. She efficiently utilizes Lev Vygotsky’s theory of Zone of Proximal Development for her students, challenging them while providing assistance and resources to achieve their definition of success.”

Another student nominator said, “Dr. Filson is always looking for ways to tailor her lessons more towards her students by asking for recommendations, looking for critiques, and striking up hallway conversations. This has created a learning space that is not only comfortable but productive and truly inspires learning.”

Filson will receive a monetary gift from The Ohio State University Alumni Association, University Advancement and the Office of Academic Affairs. She will also be inducted into the Academy of Teaching.

ACEL prepares communicators, educators and leaders in the food, agricultural, and environmental sciences to integrate research-based learning, practice and engagement, in ways that will advance positive changes that strengthen individuals, families and communities. For more information on the academic programs and research available in ACEL, please visit


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