A competitive internal search for a new associate director of the Honors Program ended recently with the appointment of Maria Navarro, professor of interdisciplinary education in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Since 2005, Navarro has served on the faculty of the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication, where she teaches and mentors undergraduate and graduate students and conducts academic outreach across the state and nation.
Her academic focus spans food, agricultural and environmental sciences, with a special emphasis on global food security and international agriculture, development and technology change. She has worked in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Western Asia and has garnered a total of $3,455,902 in collaborative grant funding.
“All of us in the Honors Program are excited to work with Dr. Navarro, who is very well known to us already given her extensive interactions with our students and programming,” said David S. Williams, associate provost and director of the Honors Program. “She is ideally suited to serve as associate director—her commitment to students is exemplary, and faculty members across the campus know her to be an effective collaborator and leader.”
In her new role with the Honors Program, Navarro oversees Honors academic advising and the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, or CURO. She is also responsible for representing Honors and CURO regionally and nationally, coordinating Honors curricular offerings, supervising several staff members and working closely with Williams on future Honors initiatives.
She will continue teaching “Reflections on Fighting Hunger,” a course she initially developed for the Honors Program, which is now one of her most requested classes.
“I am looking forward to working with an extraordinary team and to having new opportunities to impact the education of UGA students,” Navarro said.
Her UGA teaching awards include the Richard B. Russell Award, which recognizes excellence in undergraduate teaching; the D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Teaching, given by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; and the Lilly Teaching Fellowship, as well as the USDA National New Teacher Award. Navarro has also received both of the Honors Program’s teaching awards, the Hatten Howard Award and the Lothar Tresp Outstanding Honors Professor Award.
Navarro completed a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Spain and then worked for six years in the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies in international agricultural development. In 2004, she completed a Ph.D. in agricultural education from Texas A&M University.