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Department of Communications and Agricultural Education

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Disberger named Faculty of the Semester

by Rachel Waggie, agricultural education and communication master’s student

Brandie Disberger, agricultural education instructor, was honored as Faculty of the Semester by the K-State College of Agriculture for the spring 2019 semester.

Congratulations to Brandie for this accomplishment!

The Agriculturist selected for national award

by Rachel Waggie, agricultural education and communication master’s student

Lisa Moser, instructor in agricultural communications and journalism and marketing and communications specialist for the IGP Institute, has two publications up for awards in the Publications & Projects Contest at the National Agricultural Alumni Development Association (NAADA) Conference this year. In the print media division — magazine produced by students category, the Kansas State Agriculturist is a finalist. Also in the print media division — annual reports/strategic plans category, the IGP Institute 2018 Year in Review is a finalist.

The first and second places will be announced at the NAADA Annual Conference, June 10-13, 2019, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Levy Randolph to join the Department of Communications and Agricultural Education

Levy Randolph has been hired as an assistant professor in agricultural communications and journalism. He will join the Department of Communications and Agricultural Education this summer and begin teaching during the fall semester.

Randolph has degrees from California State University and the University of Florida in agricultural education and communication. He has experience as a conference facilitator for National FFA and owns and operates a video production company with his wife, Tiffany. He has taught multiple media production courses and business writing. His research agenda focuses on science communication through narratives

Randolph’s office will be located on the third floor of Umberger Hall.

Randolph Fills Open Agricultural Communications Professor Position

We’re pleased to announce that Levy Randolph will be our new assistant professor in agricultural communications and journalism. He will join the department in summer 2019 and begin teaching during the fall semester. 

Levy earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University in agricultural education and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Florida in agricultural education and communication. Along with experience as a conference facilitator for National FFA, he and his wife Tiffany own and operate a video production company. He has taught multiple media production courses and business writing. His research agenda focuses on science communication through narratives. We look forward to his arrival and having a full faculty.

His office will be located on the third floor of Umberger Hall.

 

Richard Baker Retires

To hear Richard tell it, he became a broadcaster because a fraternity brother told him he should get into the media business because he likes to talk.

With those inspiring words, Richard set off on his quest, studying at K-State and working at several radio stations across Kansas in the 1960s and 70s. He was running a black radio station in Omaha when legendary K-State broadcaster Ralph Titus called him looking for a new news director at KSAC, the college’s radio station that would later become KKSU. Richard ran the news operation for the radio station from 1977 until 2002, when the university lost the station, to the regret of many. At that point, Richard was offered the opportunity by our former department head to transition to teaching agricultural communications, which he did from 2002 until this week.

Throughout his four decades at K-State, Richard also produced a weekly interview program called Perspective. His original charge was to share information that people would not otherwise have easy access to, so for decades, Richard has hosted a wide array of thought-provoking authors on topics from astrophysics to xenophobia.

Whether working by serving the Kansas listening audience or working with students, Richard has held to – and taught – his personal ethics of fact-based reporting, fairness, quality and transparency. He’s never been afraid to ask the tough questions – and as a good journalist, he actually relishes those moments. Iron sharpens iron, and Richard, to his credit, helped many a colleague and student sharpen their skills and thinking.

The department thanks Richard for his four decades of service at Kansas State University!

Interdisciplinary team awarded $2.9 million NSF Research Traineeship grant to strengthen rural communities

By Linda Gilmore, Editor, Publishing Unit

 

Gaea Hock is part of an interdisciplinary team awarded a National Science Foundation grant to train graduate students to help communities address complex issues of water management and rural vitality. Melanie Derby, K-State assistant professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering and Hal and Mary Siegele Professor of Engineering, leads the team. Derby will help meet these challenges by training students to work at the nexus of several disciplines.

 

“The whole goal of interdisciplinary research is that someone else’s perspective makes both your work stronger,” Derby said. “We do fundamental engineering work, but we want it to go to the field. We need to know how to make that happen. One of our goals is to help western Kansas and other semiarid communities be resilient in the future. We need all the components — engineering, agricultural economics, sociology, and more — to solve these important challenges.”

 

Derby and her colleagues will mentor graduate students as they conduct fundamental research in three areas of the crucial food-energy-water system: conservation of and producer relationships with the Ogallala Aquifer, soil-water-microbial systems, and technologies to transform animal waste into energy and water. They also will work to understand engineering, economic, and sociocultural barriers to implementing emerging innovations.

 

Building communication skills and a common vocabulary across disciplines is a crucial aspect of the training. Students will engage with policymakers and attend state legislative sessions in Topeka, plus they will spend time at the Southwest Research-Extension Center in Garden City to research smart water technologies and meet with farmers and others whose livelihoods depend on conserving the aquifer and other resources.

 

In addition to Derby and Matt Sanderson (co-principal investigator and the Randall C. Hill Distinguished Professor of Sociology), the team includes co-investigators Jonathan Aguilar and Stacy Hutchinson, biological and agricultural engineering; Prathap Parameswaran, civil engineering; and David Steward, civil and environmental engineering department, North Dakota State University; educational lead Gaea Hock ’03, ’06, communications and agricultural education; and advisors Nathan Hendricks, agricultural economics, and Ryan Hansen, chemical engineering. The program will train 50 master’s and doctoral students, including 25 funded trainees from the colleges of Agriculture, Arts and Sciences, and Engineering.

Ulmer to be Honored at National FFA Meeting

By Linda Gilmore

Jon Ulmer, associate professor of agricultural education, was selected by the national FFA program to receive the Honorary American FFA Degree. This award is given to those who advance agricultural education and FFA through outstanding personal commitment. The Honorary American FFA Degree recognizes those who have gone beyond valuable daily contributions to make an extraordinary long-term difference in the lives of students, inspiring confidence in a new generation of agriculturists. Ulmer will receive the award at the 2018 National FFA Convention and Expo during an onstage ceremony on Friday, Oct. 26, in Indianapolis. All recipients will receive a certificate and medal, and their names will be permanently recorded. Ulmer currently serves on the National FFA Board of Directors.

Instructor Audrey King pursues Ph.D.

Story by Deanna Reid, master’s student

 

Agricultural communications and journalism instructor, Audrey King, is moving into the next phase of her educational journey and academic career. Audrey left K-State on June 15 to work on a Ph.D. in agricultural education at Oklahoma State University.

Audrey says leaving is bittersweet. “While I’m excited for the next chapter in my career, I know that it would not be possible without my experiences at K-State. I can’t thank the department and everyone in it enough for training me and developing my skills. I hope I can go on to make everyone proud,” she says.

Audrey’s love for teaching undergraduate students began at K-State and has inspired her to pursue a Ph.D. “I am so proud of each of my students and particularly the ACT Club for the hard work they put in all year long. I hope to continue to watch them grow from afar,” she says.

After graduating with her bachelor’s (2013) and master’s degrees (2016) from K-State, Audrey worked in the department assisting with research, advising undergraduate students, advising the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) club, and teaching agricultural communications and journalism courses this past academic year.

 

 

Western Kansas Youth Water Advocates Conference

 

 

Dr. Gaea (Wimmer) Hock (’03, ’06) assisted with the Western Kansas Youth Water Advocates Conference in Garden City, March 23–24.

This conference helps high school FFA members learn more about water issues and develop skills for advocating in their communities. Ten students from six FFA chapters participated in the event.

Dr. Hock taught sessions about considering the target audience and the basics of research. Melissa Poet (’17) and Russell Plaschka co-hosted this conference and served as mentors for students and sponsors for the event. Poet currently teaches agricultural education at Greeley County High School, and Plaschka serves as the Career and Workforce Development Specialist at the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

 

 

CREE presents at Engagement Symposium

Dr. Lauri M. Baker and Dr. Cheryl Boyer, with the Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement (CREE), presented their insights on communicating research to communities at the Engagement Symposium. This event was held at the K-State Student Union on April 12.

The event brought campus researchers together to share their insights and encourage the conversation on how to best address communities’ most pressing issues. It was sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy, the Center for Engagement and Community Development, and the Staley School of Leadership Studies. For more information on the event, you can visit http://www.k-state.edu/cecd/events/symposium/.

CREE executive directors, Baker and Boyer, shared their experiences on community engagement with a presentation titled, “Working with Rural Agricultural Businesses to Identify New and Social Media Needs”.

Baker and Boyer spoke about how they engage the community while making progress on research and addressing the communities’ needs. The two also highlighted their recommendations for growing involvement.

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