Campus News

UGA professor wins national agricultural science teaching honor from APLU

Michael Wetzstein

Athens, Ga. – The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities recently honored UGA Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics professor Michael Wetzstein with the National Teaching Award for Food and Agriculture Science.

The APLU presented the award, which honors university faculty for the use of innovative teaching methods and service to students, at the126th APLU annual meeting in November in Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and APLU, the annual awards include stipends of $5,000 for two national winners to be used for improving teaching at their respective universities.

“When alumni recall their college days, they often think of teachers who had the biggest impact on them,” said Ian Maw, vice president of food, agriculture and natural resources at APLU. “The teachers presented with these awards will be fondly remembered for their service to students, to the teaching profession and to their chosen disciplines. The value of these teachers to their universities cannot be overstated.”

To instill his love for economics in students, Wetzstein casts information in a form they are comfortable learning. In class, economic concepts and connections are presented by webbing a variety of learning forms-prose, graphics and numerical examples. He believes that long after students have forgotten most of the specific content within a course, they will be left with positive impressions. Wetzstein’s current research emphasis is on food versus fuel security and associated climate change impacts.

His recent research on biofuels policy influenced national policy toward developing a portfolio of fuels. His past research on integrated pest management was used in congressional hearings as the foundation for current and future funding.

Other research discoveries led Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division to significantly improve its ability to accurately estimate water demand for policy analysis, poultry producers to improve their laying hen replacement decisions and Georgia peach producers to geographically scatter their orchards. His research has resulted in numerous publications and the authoring of a microeconomics textbook.

Other award recipients included Wetzstein’s fellow national teaching award winner Tiffany Heng-Moss of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and six regional teaching award winners: John C. “Jack” Clausen of the University of Connecticut; Janice Jean Haggart of North Dakota State University; Soo-Yeun Lee of University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Jeffrey W. Savell of Texas A&M University; William J. Silvia of the University of Kentucky; and Brian Kent Warnick of Utah State University.

Leslie Dawn Edgar of the University of Arkansas and David W.W. Jones of North Carolina State University each received best new teacher honors in agriculture science.