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Professors honored with Awards for Excellence

Four Oklahoma State University professors earned awards for excellence in teaching or advising from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at the college’s Scholarships and Awards Banquet on March 31.

Four Oklahoma State University professors earned awards for excellence in teaching or advising from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at the college’s Scholarships and Awards Banquet on March 31.

Thomas Kuzmic, natural resource ecology and management professor, was recognized with the Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Kuzmic has been part of the natural resource ecology and management department for nearly 30 years. During his time at OSU, Kuzmic has taught several courses and is credited with a large portion of the department’s curriculum development. Currently, he advises 50 undergraduate students and teaches seven courses, including an annual study abroad course to Ecuador.

Outside the classroom, Kuzmic serves as the advisor for the OSU chapter of the Society of American Foresters, faculty representative for the OSU Academic Integrity Panel and faculty mentor for the Wentz Scholars Program.

“The energy, freshness and enthusiasm he brings to his teaching responsibilities is beyond compare – even as he approaches his third decade of teaching,” said Karen Hickman, natural resource ecology and management professor.

Sergio Abit, assistant professor of soil science, was recognized with the Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching.

To meet the learning styles of his diverse set of students, Abit has implemented various teaching methodologies and delivery systems, including flipped classroom tools and online course designs.

Outside of his role in the classroom, Abit is the advisor for three student organizations including the OSU Agronomy Club, Soil and Water Conservation Society and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANNRS). He also is the head of the department’s undergraduate curriculum and scholarship committees.

“Students give Dr. Abit extremely high marks for quality of instruction, and part of this appreciation for his instruction style stems from his innovative delivery methods,” said Jeff Edwards, plant and soil sciences department head.

Bill Raun, Regents professor for plant and soil sciences, was awarded the Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Advising and Mentoring Award.

Raun has served as the major advisor for 25 doctoral and 50 master’s students. Thirty-seven of those 75 were international students. Additionally, he has provided international experiences to 100 students during 39 study abroad trips.

During his 15 years at OSU, Raun has published 194 refereed journal articles, three books, 15 book chapters and maintained nine websites.

“Dr. Raun prepares his students for the real world, and their success is a testament to his mentoring ability,” said Jeff Edwards, plant and soil sciences department head. “This begins with his emphasis on professionalism and his high standards for graduate students.”

Jerry Fitch, animal science professor, was awarded the Excellence in Undergraduate Student Advising and Mentoring Award.

Fitch began his career with the animal science department in 1988 as an assistant professor and was named a professor in 1999. He coordinated the department’s undergraduate advising for several years and has served as the undergraduate teaching coordinator since 2011.

Fitch advises more than 100 undergraduate students and several graduate students. He is the faculty supervisor for the OSU Sheep and Goat Center as well as the coordinator for the Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Encounter. Fitch formerly served as the advisor for OSU Block and Bridle Club, the CASNR Student Council, the Animal Science Leadership Alliance and the Farm Theory Club.

“Based on my own observations of our faculty and students, Dr. Fitch is the go-to person in our department for questions related to teaching and advising,” said Clint Rusk, animal science department head.

Cynda Clary, CASNR associate dean of academic programs, said the college has a reputation for quality teaching and engaged involvement with students both in and out of the classroom.

“The countless hours these faculty members spend outside of the classroom to prepare their students for their chosen field makes them all well-deserved recipients of these awards,” said Clary.

The OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources believes in the value of hands-on education and the importance of having a well-rounded student experience. Our award-winning faculty members are dedicated to developing students and passionate about adding value to the total educational experience. With 16 majors and 62 study options, plus more than 60 student organizations, the college is committed to expanding minds and inspiring purpose. Learn more at casnr.okstate.edu.

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REPORTER: Jacy Bradford

MEDIA CONTACT:
Melissa Mourer
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Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-3737
Fax: 405-744-5739
Email: melissa.mourer@okstate.edu

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