Celebrating Award-Winning Educators

Headshot of Ann Marie VanDerZanden2017 | Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Iowa State University associate provost for academic programs, Louis Thompson Distinguished Undergraduate Teacher and horticulture professor, received the USDA Food and Agricultural Sciences National Excellence in Teaching Award.

“Teaching happens in many different ways and it can happen at unexpected times. It’s not just constrained to a classroom. If you’re a faculty member and you’re interacting with students, as cliché as it might sound, teachable moments can happen anytime.”


Headshot of Mike Retallick2015 | Mike Retallick, agricultural and life sciences education professor and department chair, received the National Association of Agricultural Educators Teacher Mentor Award.

“Teaching is about student learning, which occurs when learners actively construct their own new knowledge by building on prior knowledge through the use of experience and social interaction. My goal as a facilitator is to provide authentic and engaging experiences in order for such learning to occur.”


Headshot of Curt Young2014 | Curtis Youngs, animal science professor, received the USDA Food and Agricultural Sciences Regional Excellence in Teaching Award.

“My goal is to give students the tools and confidence they need to succeed in whatever life adventure they choose. I am truly blessed because on a regular basis I see the phenomenal accomplishments of talented and trail-blazing students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.”


Headshot of Lee Burras2011 | Lee Burras, professor of agronomy, received the 2011 USDA Food and Agricultural Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award.

“I strive to develop each student academically, professionally and personally. My charge is to help each student become a competent professional who is also a happy and involved member of society. The essence of my work is to facilitate each student’s growth as an individual while simultaneously teaching him or her the fundamentals of professional knowledge and conduct.”


Headshot of Dough Kneally2009 | Doug Kenealy, Emeritus University Professor of animal science, received the 2009 USDA Food and Agricultural Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award.

“I believe that you can push students, whether first-year or upper-class, if you consistently remind them of where they will use the building blocks of their education and how it will enhance future success in the classroom or in their career.”


Headshot of Dick Schultz2008 | Dick Schultz, University Professor of natural resource ecology and management, received the 2008 regional USDA Food and Agricultural Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award.

“My goal is to help students appreciate the privilege of being born in the United States and to be sensitive to the challenges that billions of people face each day. I also want students to appreciate nature, evaluate our impact on the environment and be prepared to develop and implement management techniques, based on scientific principles, that will sustain the planet for future generations.”


Headshot of Amy Kaleita

2007 | Amy Kaleita, agricultural and biosystems engineering associate professor and associate chair for teaching, received the 2007 USDA Food and Agricultural Sciences New Teacher Award.

“I strive to help students learn to be learners, so that they can use their foundation of knowledge to continue to develop as professionals. The knowledge gained through educational exploration will give them the building blocks, but a lifestyle of learning will help them to be innovative and adaptive.”


Headshot of Gail Nonnecke2006 | Gail Nonnecke, Global, University and Morrill Professor of horticulture, received the 2006 USDA Food and Agricultural Sciences Excellence in Teaching National Award.

“Undergraduate education is paramount for training our future professionals to help our nation and also global communities. I experience immense pride from being able to learn with and invest in the next generation of future leaders in global food and agriculture.”


Headshot of Jim Kliebenstein2006 | Jim Kliebenstein, Emeritus Professor of economics, received the 2006 regional USDA Food and Agricultural Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award.

“Creating an atmosphere where there is the desire and excitement to learn is essential. When done effectively, students will accomplish more than they ever felt possible.”