WIU School of Agriculture Awarded Best National Program – AgriNews


MACOMB, Illinois — Western Illinois University’s School of Agriculture has been recognized as one of the top national programs at the National Association of Agricultural Educators convention in New Orleans.

WIU School of Agriculture Director Andy Baker received the 2021 NAAE Outstanding Post-Secondary Agriculture Program Award at the convention.

The award, sponsored by Bayer, is given to post-secondary programs that “emphasize sustainable teaching methods, enhance student motivation, and exemplify excellent experiential learning.”

WIU’s agriculture program was honored for its success in training and placing new agricultural teachers. Over the past 21 years, the program has had an 87% placement rate and a 66% retention rate.

“Success is at the heart of WIU, Dr. Baker,” according to a press release from the NAAE. “Dr. Baker has led the program since 1999, providing continuity of attention for all matters. Baker has primary responsibility for coordinating and delivering the agricultural education program, supervising faculty and support staff and coordinate all activities associated with the University Farm.

The NAAE highlighted several WIU courses that have helped the university become a leader in agricultural education, including the Agricultural Education Summer Experience, where students are interviewed for student internships. -teachers.

They also praised the WIU program for building partnerships across the state, including working with St. Paul’s School in Macomb to teach young children about the farming industry, and with the Illinois Farm Bureau to sponsor the Collegiate FFA Greenhand motivational lecture.

Baker said it’s a real honor to have the university’s agricultural education program recognized by the national organization.

“This honor truly reflects the hard work and dedication of our graduates to secure teaching positions and their ability to retain those positions, as well as tenure,” Baker said.

“It is also a privilege and honor to be nominated by your peers at Illinois State to qualify for a Region IV award. It is a priority of mine to ensure that our graduates take pride in their institutional choice, as well as to strive to be the best educators possible, and that their decision to become agricultural educators is by choice and not by chance.

In addition to the WIU award, 2015 university alumnus Trent Taber, professor of agriculture and FFA adviser at Cambridge School District, was also honored by the NAAE.

Taber and Cambridge High School’s agriculture program was one of six agriculture education programs nationwide to receive the 2021 NAAE Outstanding Secondary/Middle School Program award at the national convention.

Over 50% of students at Cambridge High School are enrolled in an agriculture class, where the three-circle model of agricultural education is implemented.

“Mr. Trent Taber has organized and managed the Cambridge Agriculture Program to be nationally recognized in a variety of pursuits and more than deserves his Region IV award,” Baker said.

The NAAE said that through Taber’s work as an FFA Chapter Advisor at Cambridge High School, he emphasizes the importance of leadership development for all students and encourages their participation and involvement in their Chapter.

“This award recognition is a direct reflection of the hard work that students, school staff, administration, alumni and the community have put in to develop the future of agriculture in Cambridge,” said taber. “We are so lucky as a small school to have stakeholders who see the value in agricultural education.”

NAAE, with offices in Lexington, Kentucky, is the professional organization for agricultural educators, with more than 8,000 members nationwide. It provides its members with networking and professional development opportunities, professional liability coverage, and extensive rewards and recognition programs.

NAAE’s mission is “Professionals providing agricultural education to the global community through visionary leadership, advocacy and service.”


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