Washburn named new chair of CFAES Teaching, Advising and Learning

Washburn, 2021

Shannon Washburn, professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), has been named the college’s Sanford G. Price and Isabelle P. Barbee Chair in Teaching, Advising, and Learning.

His term begins Nov. 1.

Washburn, who joined ACEL as professor and chair in 2020, previously served as an assistant dean for Academic Programs for the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University, from 2015 to 2020. In that role, he led the college’s student retention efforts, facilitated professional development opportunities for faculty and instructional staff on teaching and advising, and coordinated the course and curriculum processes for the college.

While at Kansas State, Washburn also served as a professor of agricultural education and as an associate professor of agricultural education. He earned his PhD in agricultural education from the University of Missouri, and a Master of Science in secondary education and a Bachelor of Science in agricultural education from Kansas State.

William H. Price II of Cody, Wyoming, funded the Sanford G. Price and Isabelle P. Barbee Chair in Teaching, Advising, and Learning in 2002 with a gift to The Ohio State University Foundation. The chair is named in memory of his father, Sanford G. Price, BS 1919, and his aunt, Isabelle Price Barbee, BS 1919, both of Woodville, Ohio.

The Price-Barbee Chair was established to support the leadership of an endowed faculty chair position charged with fostering a collegewide environment of excellence in teaching and learning, said Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State’s vice president for agricultural administration and CFAES dean.

“We are grateful for William Price’s support to fund this position for CFAES and excited to welcome Dr. Washburn to this position,” Kress said. “The Price-Barbee Chair is a significant gift for the teaching, learning, and advising enterprise of our college.”

Having dedicated funding that supports learning and advising through the role of the teacher makes this gift unique, said Tracy Kitchel, CFAES senior associate dean and director of faculty and staff affairs.

“This position will focus on providing leadership and expertise around teaching and advising enhancement that will include initiatives at the college level designed to complement the work of the Michael V. Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning,” Kitchel said. “I am excited about the expertise Dr. Washburn brings to the table. We have such a diversity of expertise in our college, and to have expertise in teaching and learning is particularly valuable as it relates to this endowed chair. Dr. Washburn is an award-winning teacher who has a tremendous record of supporting future and current teachers at the secondary to postsecondary levels.”

In his new role as Price-Barbee Chair, Washburn said he plans to focus on several issues including:

  • creating and directing a faculty exchange for teaching excellence to identify current challenges and barriers to effective teaching practice to be used in creating a prioritized plan for professional development needs.
  • providing content direction and organization for a semi-annual college symposium in teaching excellence.
  • providing leadership for a monthly new-faculty brown bag series on teaching and advising best practices.
  • emphasizing priority on helping new faculty adopt research-based effective practices as they develop their teaching and advising identities in the early stages of their careers.

“I’m honored at the opportunity to work with the incredibly talented and dedicated faculty in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences to enhance their expertise in teaching to further strengthen the student learning experience in CFAES,” Washburn said. “There is such a rich tradition of teaching excellence and commitment to student growth in our college, and the Price-Barbee Chair is dedicated to continuing that tradition by providing ongoing growth opportunities for faculty and instructional staff.

“I look forward to partnering with my colleagues and helping them further refine their teaching craft.”

The appointment of Washburn as the Price-Barbee Chair will also significantly enhance the ability of CFAES’ Academic Programs to provide professional development opportunities for faculty members, said Steve Neal, associate dean and director of CFAES academic programs.

“Dr. Washburn brings important expertise to this role, which will be of great benefit for the college,” Neal said.


This article was originally published by CFAES Marketing and Communications.

Rodriguez, Rumbled selected for CFAES STARS Program Inaugural Cohort

Dr. Mary Rodriguez, associate professor of community leadership, and Dr. Joy Rumble, assistant professor of agricultural communication, have been selected to participate in the inaugural CFAES STARS Program Cohort.

The hiring of the Ohio State University’s 16th President, Dr. Kristina M. Johnson, and her subsequent appointment of Dr. Grace Wang in the newly formed position of Executive Vice President of Research, Innovation, and Knowledge has injected much enthusiasm for research across the university. In the 2021 State of the University Address, President Johnson announced that, “Ohio State aims to double its sponsored research within this decade,” solidifying the importance of research to the university.

Many new initiatives have been developed in the past year in response to the president’s call for “excellence in research and creative expression,” including: a planned investment of $750 million over the next decade for research and researchers, the creation of the Presidential Research Excellence Fund to support research projects, the launch of Exploratory Research Groups by the Sustainability Institute, and the kickoff of the Growing Research Opportunities (GRO) Academy.

The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) is also responding to this renewed commitment to research. As a college-level effort to identify and develop the next generation of research leaders among early and mid-career tenure track faculty within the college, the CFAES Office for Research & Graduate Education announced the inaugural STARS Program.

The goal of the Strategic Alignment for Research Success (STARS) program is to propel emerging research leaders – those individuals with the interest, vision, and motivation – to take their research programs to a higher and more collaborative level. The program will provide participants with the information, skills, and connections they need to assemble and lead large-scale teams in the pursuit of major extramural funding. Participants selected for the 2021-2022 STARS cohort are primarily early to mid-career career faculty with at least two years in their current position from a variety of CFAES departments.

Dr. Gary Pierzynski, Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Education for CFAES, has been instrumental in the development of this new initiative. “We need to think broadly about what our researchers need. Going beyond grant writing workshops, successful researchers require management skills, leadership skills, strategies for building a resume, and experience managing mid-sized grants to better position them for the big ones.”

The cohort will participate in a 6-month leadership program consisting of individual and group exercises as well as lectures and group discussions designed for early and mid-career faculty. Leadership experts from both inside and outside OSU will provide course content. Participants will be coached one-on-one to develop their research action plan which will be aimed at strengthening their research activities. Group members will have access to a monthly networking opportunity among research leaders and peers with the goal of fostering collaboration among participants from diverse disciplines.

“The STARS program facilitates the building of a track record of accomplishments and awards, management skills, and leadership skills for faculty that are essential for competing for major awards,” said Dr. Gary Pierzynski. “We have learned a great deal this past year regarding what it takes to get this work done and will continue to collaborate with faculty, administration, and staff to make the processes more efficient.”

Introducing the 2021 Cohort

Dr. Marília Chiavegato, Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science

Dr. Jessica Cooperstone, Assistant Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology

Dr. Suzanne Gray, Associate Professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources

Dr. Andrea Gschwend, Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science

Dr. Emmanuel Hatzakis, Assistant Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology

Dr. Shoshanah Inwood, Associate Professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources

Dr. Zoë Plakias, Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics

Dr. Jonathan Fresnedo Ramirez, Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science

Dr. Alejandro E. Relling, Associate Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences

Dr. Mary Rodriguez, Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership

Dr. Joy Rumble, Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership

Dr. Christopher Simons, Associate Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology

View full participant bios, here.

Original article by Alexis Didinger modified for acel.osu.edu publication.

News Release: Claflin hired as assistant professor of agriscience education at Ohio State

picture of Dr. Kellie Claflin


The Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) at The Ohio State University is pleased to share that Dr. Kellie Claflin will join our department as an assistant professor in agriscience education.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Claflin to our agriscience education faculty at Ohio State,” said Dr. Shannon Washburn, professor and chair of ACEL. “Her experiences as an educator will be beneficial to the continual growth of our undergraduate and graduate programing and development of future educators and leaders.”

In this new role within the department, Claflin will hold a 65% teaching, 25% research and 10% extension position. She will be responsible for teaching face-to-face and online courses that support agriscience education students and graduate courses that serve students across the ACEL M.S. and Ph.D. curricula and represent the department in creating, with Ohio Team Ag Ed, a focused statewide plan for professional development opportunities targeting school-based agriscience education teachers.

“It’s a great honor to join the faculty in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership at The Ohio State University,” said Claflin. “I can’t wait to connect with the students at Ohio State, agriscience educators across the state of Ohio, and faculty and staff both in Columbus and Wooster.”

Claflin received a bachelor of science in agricultural education from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and master of science and doctorate degrees in agricultural education from Oregon State University. She taught middle and high school agriscience for five years in Wisconsin and most recently served as an assistant professor at Virginia Tech in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education.

The agriscience education program at Ohio State prepares its students to acquire a license to teach agricultural science in middle and high schools in Ohio and across the country, with extensive training in agricultural science, educational psychology, instructional methods, and youth development.

For additional information on the agriscience education undergraduate and graduate programs, or to contribute to the development of students, visit acel.osu.edu or call 614.247.6358.


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 acel.osu.edu.


Rodriguez elected as president-elected of AIAEE

Dr. Mary Rodriguez, assistant professor of community leadership, has been elected president-elect of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) for 2021-2022.

She will take over leadership of the organization at the 2022 annual conference, which is scheduled to be held in Thessaloniki, Greece in April 2022.

AIAEE is a professional organization for agricultural and extension educators who share a common goal of strengthening agricultural and extension education programs and institutions worldwide.

Rodriguez, an alum of Texas A&M University ( BS ’08) and the University of Florida (MS ’10, PhD ’15), joined our faculty in 2015.

Rumble named Outstanding Advisor at Ohio State ATI campus

Congratulations to Dr. Joy Rumble, assistant professor of agricultural communication, for being named the recipient of the Ohio State ATI Outstanding Advisor award.

Rumble advises ACEL students who attend our CFAES Wooster campus and teaches several of our agricultural communication undergraduate and graduate courses at both the Wooster and Columbus campuses.

Rumble joined the ACEL faculty in 2018. She is a three time graduate of Ohio State, which includes a master’s degree in agricultural communication from our department.

Whittington selected as president-elect of NACTA professional society

Dr. M. Susie Whittington, professor of agriscience education in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL), has been selected as president-elect of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agricultural (NACTA). NACTA, which was formed in 1955 as a professional society, focuses on the scholarship of teaching and learning in agriculture and related disciplines at the postsecondary level. Members of NACTA are from two-year and four-year colleges, both public and private.

Whittington will serve as president-elect for 2020-2021 and will take over leadership of the organization at the 2021 annual conference, which is scheduled to be held at Ohio State’s Wooster campus in June 2021.

Since joining the department in 2000, Whittington has taught a variety of courses in the agriscience education major, preparing students to become high school agricultural educators through teaching methods, cultural proficiency, and program planning, as well as graduate courses in data collection and in advanced teaching methods.

In addition to her faculty role with ACEL, Whittington serves as executive director for Ohio State’s Second-Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP), which is a university-wide program focused on student success and development that allows students opportunities to engage in high impact practices that cater to their individual interests and needs.

“We are so proud in ACEL and Ohio State to have our very own Dr. Susie Whittington serve as president in this premier international organization,” said Dr. Scott Scheer, professor and interim chair of ACEL. “NACTA is fortunate to have Dr. Whittington in this role because she brings in a wealth of national and university leadership experience from serving as president in the American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE) to the university-wide Director of STEP at Ohio State. NACTA will certainly thrive and improve with Dr. Whittington as its president.”

“As a member of NACTA since the early 1990s, my teaching has benefitted from the talent and expertise of its members,” said Whittington. “I look forward to giving-back and to paying forward to a society that has given so much to me.”

Whittington is a three time graduate of Ohio State, earning bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in agricultural education in 1982, 1988 and 1991, respectively.

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, or to donate to student scholarships, please visit acel.osu.edu.

Faculty and graduate students represent ACEL at virtual NACTA conference

Congratulations to our ACEL faculty and graduate students who represented our department so well at the annual NACTA (North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture) virtual conference held last week.

Dr. Susie Whittington, professor of agriscience education, was announced as the 2020 President-Elect.

Dr. Mary Rodriguez, assistant professor of community leadership, was recognized with a 2020 Educator Award.

Paper presented include:
“Comparing agriculture students’ migration intentions in El Salvador and Honduras” by Amy Boren Alpizar, Pablo Lamiño Jaramillo, and current ACEL Ph.D. student Rafael Landaverde (while student at Texas Tech).

“Evaluating the impact of an educational intervention on farmers in El Salvador” by current Ph.D. student Rafael Landaverde (while a student at Texas Tech), Amy E. Boren-Alpìzar, Sarahi Morales, Matt Baker and John Rayfield.

“Limitations and Opportunities of 4-H Clubs in Honduras: A Stakeholders View” by current Ph.D. student

Rafael Landaverde, Amy Boren-Alpizar, Stephen Brady, Dustin Homan, Patricia Arce and Marjorie Mayr.

“Student Perceptions Abroad: The Impacts of Climate Change in Trinidad & Tobago” by Ph.D. Rafael Landaverde and Mary Rodriguez.

Posters presented include:
“A Mixed-Methods Study on Teaching Methods for Andragogy on Gene-Editing Technology” by master’s student Robert Thiel, Amanda Bowling and Joy Rumble.

“A National Multi-Decade Look at Trends for Graduates of Agriculture and the Related Sciences” by Ph.D. student Aaron Giorgi and M. Susie Whittington.

“Autonomy, Collaboration, and Personal Development through a Capstone in Leadership” by master’s student Summer McLain, Jera Niewoehner-Green and master’s student Paige Andrews.

“A University Level Exploration of First-Generation Students of Agriculture and Related Sciences” by Ph.D. student Aaron Giorgi, M. Susie Whittington and Anne McDaniel.

Rodriguez awarded NACTA Educator Award

Dr. Mary Rodriguez, assistant professor of community leadership in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL), has been named a recipient of the North American Colleges of Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Educator Award. This award recognizes educators who excel as teachers in the agricultural disciplines. She was recognized as a recipient during the organizations virtual conference in early June.

Rodriguez currently instructs a variety of courses for ACEL, including the Teaching Methods in Non-Formal Learning Environments, Community Leadership and Foundations of International Development. Throughout her time with Ohio State she has also taught Foundations of Personal and Professional Leadership, Research Methods, Teaching Methods in Non-Formal Learning Environments and Extension Education in Developing Countries to both undergraduate and graduate students.

“Dr. Rodriguez is an outstanding educator in ACEL. She has attracted students who have specifically come to our department to work with her, both internationally and within the United States. She uses innovative teaching techniques such as out-of-classroom instruction, demonstrations, and service learning,” said Dr. Scott Scheer, interim chair for ACEL and professor of community leadership. “Student feedback provides strong evidence of her teaching and learning skills. For example, ‘Dr. Rodriguez is a great teacher! She is very engaging, very respectful and understanding of students,’ and ‘Dr. Rodriguez was a phenomenal educator – always challenging and pushing students and providing opportunities for practical application of the material we were learning in class,’ are consistent messages on her course feedback forms. Dr. Rodriguez’s recognition with a 2020 NACTA Educator Award is well deserved.”

Rodriguez joined the ACEL faculty in 2015 after earning her Ph.D. in agricultural extension from the University of Florida (UF). She also holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and a master’s degree in international agricultural education from Texas A&M University, earning those in 2008 and 2010 respectively.


“When I was working on my PhD at UF, I was set and determined to work for an international organization. I wanted to focus my career on research and outreach. Then I got the opportunity to teach an intercultural communication course as the lead instructor. This changed everything for me,” said Rodriguez. “I saw the impact that teaching can make when you push students to think critically and to engage with difficult conversations. I love my research. I love working with communities. But every student that comes away from classes with me thinking about the world in a different way or having found their own place when it’s sometimes hard to do so, makes it all worth it”.

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, or to donate to student scholarships, please visit acel.osu.edu.



Q&A with Dr. Shannon Washburn

Dr. Shannon Washburn will be joining ACEL as the department chair on July 1, 2020. To get to know him better, our students submitted questions and below are his answers.

Some questions are fun, while others are more serious! Thank you to our ACEL graduate and undergraduate students for submitting questions!

[ACEL student]: What plans do you have to get to know the students?
[Dr. Washburn]: Getting to know students, staff and faculty is my biggest priority for the first few months in the position. To meet students, I hope to be able to attend as many of the student organization meetings as possible and I always have an open door policy. I would also like to schedule small group appointments with students throughout my first year to share a brown bag lunch, grab coffee or ice cream and just chat.

What are your thoughts about starting a leadership role in a time of crisis like this?It definitely isn’t ideal to start a new leadership role at a new (to me) university during a global health pandemic and it certainly is presenting some challenges to my planning for relocation, but I know we will get through those challenges. In many ways though, the time when leadership is needed most is when times are difficult and I have been so impressed with the leadership I’ve witnessed from afar from University and CFAES leaders as well as the outstanding team in ACEL. Times like what we’re experiencing now really help you see what people are really made of and I’m tremendously impressed with the way ACEL faculty, staff and student leaders have stepped up in this time of crisis. I know we will learn much from these experiences and I look forward to using those lessons to help our department think about how our innovations and responses to COVID-19 can introduce lasting changes to “who” ACEL becomes moving forward.

What does being a Buckeye mean to you?
This is an interesting and challenging question because I’ve spent a total of less than two weeks of my life on the Ohio State campus. As of today what being a Buckeye represents to me is lots of opportunity for learning and growth in an environment with long, deep and rich traditions for excellence and global leadership. Throughout my 22 year career in higher education, the ACEL faculty and students I’ve been able to observe have always been respected for their tradition of excellence, innovation, talent, institutional pride, and their approachable collegiality. I’m thrilled to have a chance to join this incredible family and I look forward to learning so much more about what it means to be a Buckeye.

What is your plan for admitting more graduate students?
The biggest limiting factor associated with growing our graduate student population is our faculty capacity. I believe the most important thing we can do with graduate education to continue to build on our tradition of excellence is to make sure the students we admit receive outstanding experiences and support. There’s a limit to how many students each faculty member can serve while ensuring an excellent education. We have plans in the very near future to add a faculty member with expertise in Agriscience Education and another in Agricultural Communication. This should enable us to add some advising capacity. I also hope to be involved with the graduate program as an advisor for a few students. Beyond that, a great deal of planning and discussion with the graduate faculty team and learning more about the ACEL graduate experience will be necessary to refining longer term plans for growth.

What’re your plans for increasing diversity among ACEL graduate students?Growing diversity in any form will always be a function of continually striving to foster a more inclusive culture. Diverse candidates for any position have a keen sense for whether a place can become a home for them where they can really develop a sense of belonging where their ideas and perspectives are welcome. If we don’t foster such a mentality among current graduate students as well as our staff and faculty, it will be very difficult for our graduate program to reflect the great diversity of our country. Beyond that though, it is critical that we actively recruit for diversity as we hire faculty and staff and as we seek to proactively find the graduate students we want to invite to join the ACEL family. Making diversity a priority in admission and assistantship decisions will help with that as well. Ultimately, whether in ACEL or any other aspect of life, the sooner we recognize that welcoming and valuing diversity is a learned behavior that can be improved upon, the better we will be at doing so.

What’s your life motto or a crucial principle you live by?
My life motto for many years has been “Success isn’t measured by how high you climb, but by how high you bounce when you fall.” While no one enjoys failing, I’ve never struggled with embracing failure as a learning opportunity and a motivation for trying something new. I think that probably comes from growing up on a farm where things rarely go as planned, but that doesn’t mean you stop trying. I think as leaders, communicators and educators working with learners of all ages, we can do a much better job of sharing about lessons learned from failure to help other people realize that failure is part of the human condition and we shouldn’t allow it to be an impediment to taking on challenges.

What made you want to be the next ACEL chair?
This position offered an outstanding opportunity to gain experience in departmental leadership with a ridiculously talented team of faculty and staff in the premier program of its type in the United States. It also presented a new challenge at a time in my career when I was ready for one and at a time in my personal life that a move to another state seemed possible.

If Ohio State and Kansas State ever play in a bowl game, who has your support?
I would love to see that matchup because it would mean my Wildcats have achieved elite status in football and it would be a fun game to watch. While I can’t win with an honest answer to this question, it would be a no lose situation because either the team representing two of my diplomas wins or the team representing my mortgage payment wins!

What will you miss most about Kansas? Kansas State?
The answer to both questions is family. My family roots, my parents and one living grandmother are still in Kansas and my mother-in-law is there as well. Both of my daughters will continue their undergraduate educations at K-State so what I will miss most will be weekday lunches and chats with my girls on campus.

Tell me about your family?
My parents still operate the farm that my maternal great-grandparents established outside of Norton, Kansas (population 2,800) they grow wheat, grain and feed sorghum and registered Shorthorn cattle. My mom is retired from a career as the receptionist for the medical clinic in town and now spends a lot of time trying to keep up with her 92 year old mom. Andi is my wife of almost 23 years and she holds BS and MS degrees from Kansas State in English Education and was a high English teacher when we met. Most recently she has worked in Digital Marketing. She is an amazing baker, a tremendous mom and my best friend and she’s excited to start this new adventure with me. My daughters are Anna – a sophomore at K-State studying English Education with a Theatre minor and Kate – a freshman at K-State studying Music Education and a trumpet player in K-State’s marching band.

What was your job before getting a PhD?
When I completed my degree in Agricultural Education from K-State, I became a high school ag teacher in Southwest Kansas. After three years in the high school classroom, I had a really unique opportunity to become a full-time instructor in Agricultural Education at K-State while finishing my masters degree. That is where I discovered how much I love working with college students and in the higher education environment.

Are you an early bird or night owl?
I can really be either one, depending on how late I am on completing a project!

Will you teach in addition to being chair?
I’ve had one semester since 1995 when I didn’t teach. My wife can tell you that wasn’t a pretty semester – I missed being in the classroom. I’m excited to continue learning in that way as well with my new position.

What’s your favorite vacation destination?
Anyplace with a beach and fresh seafood.

What’s something you’re really good at – big or small?
I love applying my expertise in agricultural education to international ag development settings and have had awesome opportunities to do so repeatedly in Egypt, Haiti, Ethiopia and Ghana. I am a lifelong student of other cultures and really enjoy meeting people in agriculture from around the world. I’ve traveled enough to know that no matter where you go, there are many more things that make people similar than there are differences, so I find it very easy to connect with people in developing countries.

Do you like to read? What are you reading now?
Kindle is about the third most used app on my phone, but I spend so much of my professional life reading that when I want to read for pleasure it is to escape in fiction. Right now I’m reading the latest in a long series of Agent Pendergast novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I’m also a huge fan of anything Stephen King and would highly recommend his Dark Tower series, and there isn’t a Jack Reacher book (by Lee Child) that I haven’t read.

Do you have any hobbies?
Andi and I both have a sick obsession with DIY home improvement that really is our only true hobby.

What is your favorite band/musician?
There are too many great bands to have a single favorite. It really depends on my frame of mind whether I listen to James Taylor, Billy Joel, AC/DC, Red Dirt Country, Contemporary Country or pop. My main Pandora Stations are Train, Journey, Plain White T’s or Zac Brown Band.

Do you sing karaoke? Go to song?
I’m not really musically inclined, but in the right mood, I could sing anything Billy Joel, George Strait or Garth Brooks.

Is it pop, soda, or coke?
You’ll find me using pop and soda interchangeably. Coke only comes in red.

What is your favorite kind of food?
I love food of many varieties and think food is one of the most fascinating parts of culture so I enjoy trying lots of new foods. If I had to pick a favorite though, having grown up on a Western Kansas cattle ranch, I would choose steak.

You see someone wearing Ohio State while traveling of out state. What do you say to them?
I’m pretty sure the best way to strike up a conversation with anyone wearing scarlet and gray anywhere in the world would be to simply say “O-H…”

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Dr. Washburn! Now, it’s your turn to answer some of Dr. Washburn’s questions for you. Visit go.osu.edu/washburnasks to share some of your favorite spots on campus, the best hidden gems in Ohio and more!