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Purdue hosts NACTA Conference

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN -- Innovations in education related to agriculture will be among hundreds of topics explored during the 63rd annual North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Conference June 28 - July 1, 2017, at Purdue University. The annual event gives hundreds of educators from all over the United States and Canada the opportunity to attend workshops, review more than 300 oral and posters presentations, and hear from some of the top leaders in the field.

“The NACTA Conference provides an incredible opportunity for educators and students from across the nation and abroad to share research findings, as well as engage with many of the leaders advancing innovation in education-related matters across agriculture, STEM, and related disciplines,” said Marcos Fernandez, associate dean and director of academic programs for Purdue’s College of Agriculture. “With agriculture college graduates continuing to be in high demand, it’s exciting to come together as a community of educators to hear and discuss developments in recruitment, teaching and learning, advising, and placement of these students.”

This year’s conference, which has the theme INnovation, IN Learning, IN the Heartland, features Elizabeth Bechdol, as a keynote speaker. Bechdol, who is the director of agribusiness strategies for the legal firm Ice Miller and president and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana, will discuss the growth of Indiana’s agbiosciences field. AgriNovus Indiana is focused on helping to position Indiana as a leader in food and agricultural innovation, largely through collaboration with other entity leaders; cultivating a skilled workforce; and supporting start-up businesses in the field.

Other speakers during the conference include Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture at Purdue, and Jeffory A. Hattey, assistant dean in academic programs The Ohio State University, where he is focused on initiatives to improve student success. Hattey will draw upon his years of experience in education to discuss innovations in teaching.

Attendees also will hear from recent recipients of the Association of Public and Land-grant University’s 2017 Innovative Teaching Awards. Those include Purdue’s Elizabeth Karcher, assistant professor of Animal Sciences, Kara Stewart, assistant professor of Animal Sciences, and Ronald Lemenager, professor of Animal Sciences, will present on the “Development of a Novel Program to Expose Undergraduate Students to Key Issues in Animal Management.”

Six workshops will cover various topics, including Agricultural Employment Opportunities. That session features Allan Goecker, retired Assistant Dean in Purdue Agriculture Academic Programs, as a speaker. The conference also features the opportunity to tour nearby agricultural-related destinations, including Trader’s Point Creamery, Fair Oaks Farms, Purdue Agricultural Centers and local diversified farms.

For more information about the conference or to register, visit