Skip to main content

U of I professors win awards

URBANA, IL – Eight professors in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois have been recognized as among the best in the nation in agricultural education. 

North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, a professional society dedicated to scholarship in teaching and learning in agricultural disciplines, gave its Educator Award to Tony Grift in agricultural and biological engineering; Kari Keating in agricultural leadership and science education; Dan Shike and Phil Cardoso in animal sciences; Brian Ogolsky in human development and family studies; and Yuji Arai and Anthony Yannarell in natural resources and environmental sciences. 

On winning the award, Dan Shike, who teaches courses in beef production, management, and evaluation, said, “I am passionate about being an educator and strive to instill the same passion in my students. I am very proud that several former students I have mentored, advised, and instructed have chosen to be educators.”

Brian Ogolsky, who teaches courses on families and relationships added, “For me, helping students overcome obstacles and succeed is the most rewarding experience in academia.” 

Kari Keating prepares the next generation of agriculture teachers in the agricultural leadership and science education program. “As someone who focuses on the people-development aspect of agriculture, I am honored and energized to be included,” she said.

Alan Hansen, professor in agricultural and biological engineering, won the NACTA Teaching Scholar Award. Less than 1 percent of NACTA members receive this award, which recognizes special commitment to the society and to agricultural education. Hansen is interested in high-impact learning practices in higher education, and is a strong advocate for global learning opportunities. 

He leads a summer study-abroad course in South Africa to develop engineering solutions to meet local community needs, such as biomass stoves and flood irrigation systems.

“I tell incoming new students that what you choose to learn outside the classroom is likely to be as important as what you learn inside the classroom,” Hansen said. “I have seen firsthand the value of high-impact learning experiences, such as study abroad, undergraduate research, and participation in student organizations.”    

An awards ceremony will occur during the annual NACTA conference, June 28 through July 1 at Purdue University.