Texas A&M AgriLife

Vice Chancellor’s Awards in Excellence

Congratulations to all the recipients of the 2012 Vice Chancellor’s Awards in Excellence!

Dr. C. Scott ShaferThe award for teaching excellence, is presented to
C. Scott Shafer, Professor,

Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences

Dr. Shafer is an esteemed educator with a talent for sparking students’ interest in his subject. Every semester, his undergraduate course on park planning and design works on a real-world project such as designing trails for elementary schools in inner-city Fort Worth. His teaching evaluations have been consistently high over the past 10 years. His accomplishments at the graduate level are similarly impressive. His colleagues say: “Dr. Shafer does not simply teach; he stimulates lifelong learning, a passion for being relevant, and a desire to leave a place better than when a person arrived.”

Ms. Karen Melton (Dr. Ellis accepting on her behalf)The Graduate Student Teaching Award is presented to
Karen Melton, doctoral student,
Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences

Ms. Melton is considered among the best teachers at Texas A&M University.  As a doctoral student, she teaches a course on youth development organizations and services.  It was originally designed and taught by Dr. Peter Witt, professor and Bradberry Chair of Recreation and Youth Development. Her supporters — including Dr. Witt — all agree that Ms. Melton has improved the content, presentation style, and student interest in the course. The class now draws students from a variety of majors, proving its broad relevance. Students praise Ms. Melton for inspiring them to think like professionals. She won the 2010 Student-Led Award for Teaching Excellence. Ms. Melton could not be with us. Her department head, Dr. Gary Ellis is accepting on her behalf.

Dr. J. Wayne KeelingThe Research Award in Excellence is presented to J. Wayne Keeling
Professor and Project Leader for Cropping Systems and Weed Science

Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Lubbock

Dr. Keeling’s research has had a tremendous effect on Texas agriculture in his 38 years with AgriLife Research — helping grower’s plant crops that withstand weeds, insects, diseases, and weather extremes. He has served as a respected adviser to producers, industry members, commodity leaders, and Extension agents across the country. “When Wayne Keeling speaks, High Plains producers listen,” noted one of his supporters.   Dr. Keeling’s work demonstrates that theory, research, and extension can mesh to produce an excellent program for agricultural producers.

Ms. Carena J. van RiperThe Graduate Student Research Award
is presented to Carena J. van Riper
doctoral student,
Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences

Ms. van Riper began her doctoral work three years ago and is expected to graduate in May. She is already internationally acknowledged for her work, with more than 40 publications and 37 symposium presentations. Focusing broadly on the human dimensions of natural resources, her doctoral research will have profound implications for public land managers. Ms. van Riper collaborates with interdisciplinary research teams from James Cook University in Australia, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Park Service. She is a talented teacher and an active member of the academic community. She is creative, enthusiastic, highly motivated, and well positioned to become a leader in her field.

Mr. Corrie BowenThe County Extension Agent Award in Excellence
is presented to Corrie Bowen
County Extension Agent–Agriculture and Natural Resources, Wharton County

Mr. Bowen has served the citizens of the Upper Gulf Coast for the past 12 years. He was part of Extension’s Operation No Fences team, which rescued livestock and protected ranchers’ livelihoods in the wake of Hurricane Ike. He later recruited a team of experts for the Brazoria County Emergency Operations Center, wrote a manual on livestock hurricane preparedness, and completed disaster management courses. He co-designed a forage management series for ranchers, helped organize an annual Brazoria County tour for elected officials, and created the Urban Rancher Landowner Education Series. Mr. Bowen received a publications award in 2010 and an Extension Superior Service Award in 2012.

Dr. F. Ted McCollumThe Extension Specialist Award in Excellence
is presented to F. Ted McCollum
Professor and Beef Cattle Specialist
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo

A nationally recognized expert in beef cattle nutrition and management, Dr. McCollum is a co-developer of the Texas Beef Quality Producer Program and teaches Beef Quality Assurance throughout the state. He helps coordinate the Southwest Beef Symposium and the Plains Nutrition Council conference. Following recent wildfires and drought, Dr. McCollum worked tirelessly to help desperate ranchers determine how to preserve their herds. He was named State Specialist of the Year by the Texas County Agricultural Agents Association in 2010. Supporters say he “has an excellent understanding of the issues our members face every day” and that he “cares deeply for the producers he serves.”

Mr. A. Burl Carraway IIIThe Public Service in Forestry Award in Excellence
is presented to A. Burl Carraway III
Department Head, Sustainable Forestry and Economic Development
Texas A&M Forest Service

Since joining the Forest Service in 1993, Mr. Carraway has been an innovator and leader in the agency. He played an important role in assessing forest resources following Hurricanes Rita and Ike and led recent efforts to determine the effects of historic drought on forests and trees. He serves on committees throughout the Southern Region dealing with water resources, forest inventory and analysis, economic development, and ecosystem services.   He is also a graduate of the AgriLife Administrative Leadership Program.   One of his supporters said he “promotes the real essence of the land-grant system by always looking for ways to get the science and knowledge out to the people of Texas.”

Dr. Randle W. MooreThe Diagnostic Services Award in Excellence
is presented to
Dr. Randle W. “Randy” Moore
Resident Director
TVMDL Poultry Laboratory, Center, Texas

Dr. Moore is a rare combination of innovative scientist, effective researcher, and influential educator. Regarded as one of the nation’s foremost poultry veterinary diagnosticians, he leads a staff which conducts over 135,000 tests a year. He interacts with a broad range of poultry producers, from the world’s largest companies to backyard farmers. Dr. Moore and his staff are willing to work long hours to provide critical results, demonstrating the commitment to clients that is a cornerstone of TVMDL’s mission.  Clients praise his candor, professionalism, and patience during stressful disease outbreaks, and a former colleague called him “a brilliant scientist with a heart of gold.”

Mr. Terry L. LovingshimerThe Business and Operational Staff Award in Excellence
is presented to
Terry L. Lovingshimer
Facilities Manager
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics

With the department for eight years, Mr. Lovingshimer manages all aspects of building operations, down to the repair of scientific instruments.  One enthusiastic professor said, “We never notice any problems because Terry anticipates them or identifies them early and takes the appropriate action. He is the best facilities person I have ever encountered, full stop.” Mr. Lovingshimer’s dedication has saved the department thousands of dollars in repairs. He frees faculty members from worry about equipment breakdowns, allowing them to fully focus on their jobs. His supporters agree that the department’s success is closely linked to the efforts of this one extraordinary individual.

Mrs. Coretta McClishThe Office and Administrative Staff Award in Excellence
is presented to
Coretta McClish
Senior Office Associate
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo

Employed by the Amarillo Center since 2004, Ms. McClish serves as the point of contact for Resident Director John Sweeten. She organizes meetings, arranges travel, and handles many aspects of the grant proposal process.  Ms. McClish has outstanding technical skills, communication skills, and attention to detail. She exhibits a high level of accountability and professionalism, and deals gracefully with a fast-paced, high-pressure job.   Her welcoming demeanor makes the Amarillo Center a better place.  Called “a model employee and team player”, she received the Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Award from AgriLife Research in 2007.

Mr. Alfred M. Sanchez (Dr. Pierson accepting on his behalf)The Technical and Programmatic Staff Award in Excellence
is presented to
Alfred M. Sanchez
Technician II
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Uvalde

Mr. Sanchez became a full-time employee at the Uvalde Center in 2001, joining the plant pathology and microbiology team. He is described as self-motivated, versatile, proficient, and always willing to learn new techniques. He excels at precise experimental procedures. He is helpful and polite with clients and is a patient mentor to other workers. According to his colleagues, Mr. Sanchez “always exhibits a positive outlook” and is “second to none in dependability, job performance, and quality of work.” Mr. Sanchez could not join us. His department head, Dr. Sandy Pierson is accepting on his behalf.

Mrs. Kay LedbetterThe AgriLife Services Staff Award in Excellence
is presented to
Kay Ledbetter
Communications Specialist and Associate Editor
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo

For seven years Kay Ledbetter has provided communications support to Research and Extension staff at Amarillo and Vernon, and in 46 additional counties.  Since 2011, she has also worked with two departments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Each year, she produces hundreds of news releases and videos and handles information requests from the news media. A media colleague in Amarillo said, “Kay’s assistance has proven invaluable to my efforts to tell people what is going on in agriculture in our region.” Faculty, staff, and coworkers also praise her commitment to her work and her talent for writing engaging, accessible, and accurate stories.

Dr. Kevin Heinz and Ms. Rebecca HapesThe Diversity Award in Excellence
is presented to
The Research Experience for Undergraduates–Expanding Scientific Investigation through Entomology Team

Team members are:

Dr. Kevin Heinz, Professor of Entomology and Director of the Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program, Department of Entomology
and
Ms. Rebecca Hapes, Senior Academic Advisor II, Entomology

The REU-EXCITE program, funded by the National Science Foundation, was created in 2008 by Dr. Heinz and Ms. Hapes to recruit undergraduate women, people with disabilities, returning veterans, and underrepresented minority students to entomology and the life sciences. The 10-week summer program recruits 8 to 10 students each year from non-research universities to conduct entomology research and communicate their findings to the public.    According to one supporter, the team’s leadership and flawless program coordination, as well as the impact of the program’s graduates, “have others wishing to learn from their success.”  The team was also won an inaugural dean’s outstanding achievement awards earlier this fall.

Dr. Luis O. TedeschiThe International Involvement Award
is presented to
Luis O. Tedeschi
Associate Professor, Department of Animal Science

A leader in the ruminant nutrition field, Dr. Tedeschi has presented seminars and lectures in 10 countries on four continents and has published in nations worldwide. Many of his students are from outside North America, and he converses fluently in three languages. He teaches a study-abroad course in Brazil, and his research has had a global impact on ruminant production systems. He is also part of a research alliance coordinated by the Borlaug Institute at Ukulima Farm in South Africa. A colleague said Dr. Tedeschi “serves as an example of what younger faculty should aspire to achieve in the international arena.”

Suitably, Dr. Tedeschi is traveling and unable to attend, however, his wife Eloisa Tedeschi will accept on his behalf.

Dr. John M. SweetenThe Administration Award in Excellence
is presented to
John M. Sweeten
Professor and Resident Director
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo and at Vernon

Dr. Sweeten has been part of The Texas A&M University System for 40 years. As the AgriLife Research resident director, he encourages the professional success and overall well-being of everyone at the Amarillo and Vernon Centers. Dr. Sweeten has built excellent rapport with livestock, dairy, and crop producers’ associations that help fund research throughout the A&M System. He fosters relationships with legislators, mayors, and chambers of commerce and shows them how AgriLife activities benefit their constituents. His high expectations of himself and others instill a drive for excellence in everyone around him.

Zebra Chip Leadership TeamThe Partnership Award in Excellence
is presented to the
Zebra Chip Leadership Team
Team members include:
Charles M. Rush, AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo;
James R. Supak, AgriLife Research–Director’s Office;
J. Creighton Miller, Department of Horticultural Sciences;
Neil C. Gudmestad, North Dakota State University;   and
John T. Trumble, University of California Riverside

Zebra chip disease causes potatoes to develop unsightly dark stripes when cooked and is extremely harmful to potato plants. It began affecting Texas crops in 2000, causing severe losses, and by 2007 it threatened the entire U.S. potato industry. Drs. Rush, Gudmestad, and Trumble first answered the call, acquiring a grant from the Texas legislature to form the Texas Zebra Chip Research Initiative. In 2008, Dr. Miller joined the team, and they obtained a large federal grant for a Specialty Crops Research Initiative. Dr. Supak then took over leadership of the Texas initiative. Together, the two initiatives then formed the Zebra Chip Leadership Team. The two programs include more than 30 scientists representing seven universities, and USDA researchers from seven states. They are improving growers’ outcomes and have fostered success through the annual Zebra Chip Reporting Session, in which researchers from half a dozen countries come together to share their findings to combat the disease.

TAM Wheat Improvement TeamThe Team Award in Excellence
is presented to the
TAM Wheat Improvement Team

Team members include:
Jackie C. Rudd and John M. Sweeten, from the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo;
Amir Ibrahim, Travis Miller, Lloyd Rooney, and Dirk Hays, from the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences; and
R. Steve Brown, Texas Foundation Seed Service, Vernon

These individuals represent the larger TAM Wheat Improvement Team, which has been highly successful in developing hardy, productive, and high-quality wheat varieties and in identifying varieties that are resistant to insects and disease. In the past 10 years the group released 10 wheat, 4 oat, and 2 triticale varieties. These crops have increased the net returns of Texas growers by many millions of dollars, and they bring in thousands of dollars in royalties for AgriLife Research each year. The team trains highly sought-after graduates, who have been recruited as leaders of other wheat-breeding programs. One supporter said the team’s ability to work effectively, both together and with industry counterparts, plays a large part in its success.

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