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Agricultural education professor wins USDA teaching award

Posted: December 1, 2016

John Ewing, Associate Professor of Agricultural and Extension Education in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, was among 10 educators recently honored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) as a recipient of a 2016 U.S. Department of Agriculture Excellence in College and University Teaching Award for Food and Agricultural Sciences.
John Ewing, associate professor of agricultural and extension education

John Ewing, associate professor of agricultural and extension education

The annual awards recognize scholarship, exemplary pedagogy and dedication to instruction, and celebrate university faculty for their innovative teaching methods and service to students. They include stipends of $5,000 for national winners and $2,000 for regional and new teacher honorees, to be used for improving teaching at their respective universities. Ewing, who was a regional recipient, received the award at the 129th APLU Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.

Ewing has been a faculty member since 2006 and is recognized by peers and students as an excellent teacher who cares about student  success. He earned his bachelor's degree from Penn State and both master's and doctoral degrees from Ohio State University. 

Ewing teaches mainly at the undergraduate level, where he has taught eight different courses related to teacher education. In addition, he has served as the undergraduate program coordinator for the Agricultural and Extension Education major since 2008, helping guide students to opportunities that enhance their Penn State experience.

His ability to connect theory and practice in each class topic allows his students to see relevance in their learning. By connecting his research on experiential learning with content specific to agricultural education, Ewing helps future teachers prepare for management of their own high school agricultural education programs.

Ewing's desire to help students learn through experiential learning has been recognized with awards from various organizations, including the North Central American Association for Agricultural Education's Outstanding Early Career Agricultural Education Award, the College of Agricultural Sciences Community of Teaching Award, the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Teaching Award of   Merit, and the NACTA Teacher Fellow award. 

"We are so proud that Dr. Ewing received this award. It reflects well-deserved recognition for his excellent contributions in the scholarship of teaching and learning," said Tracy Hoover, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Ian Maw, vice president of food, agriculture and natural resources at APLU, noted that public universities' primary mission is to educate students and inspire them to apply the skills and knowledge learned in the classroom to transform the world outside it.

"Educators play a central role in helping students realize their full potential," he said. "This year's winners of Excellence in College and University Teaching Awards for Food and Agricultural Sciences have demonstrated an uncompromising commitment to their students and the community they serve, and we're delighted to spotlight their exceptional work in agricultural sciences."

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities is a research, policy and advocacy organization representing 236 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems and affiliated organizations. Founded in 1887, APLU is North America's oldest higher education association, with member institutions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, Canada and Mexico.