By: Mollie Lastovica
Twelve representatives of the Texas A&M University Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications attended the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, May 19-23. Of the ALEC attendees, four brought home honors and recognition.
Professor James Lindner, Ph.D., received the Outstanding Leadership Award and was inducted as a Fellow for the organization. Assistant Professor Theresa Murphrey, Ph.D., was inducted as a Fellow and Professor Gary Briers, Ph.D., received Senior Fellow recognition. Winning the Outstanding Early Achievement Award was Assistant Professor Robert Strong, Ph.D.
The AIAEE is an international organization for agricultural and extension educators. Members share a passion for international agriculture and extension programs and champion the strengthening of such programs across the world. The ALEC department’s recognition at the recent conference is testament to the department’s commitment to agriculture on a global scale.
“Because of the size of our department, there are two things to consider,” Department Head Jack Elliot, Ph.D., said. “We have the capacity to do more than anyone else and because of that, we have an obligation to agriculture to be involved.”
Elliot noted that representatives of over 30 countries attended the AIAEE conference, many of whom were seeking insight from ALEC’s delegates. The recognition as award recipients and Fellows speaks for the talent fostered in the ALEC department, but Elliot notes that the department usually learns more from those who seek answers and guidance than it can give in return.
Those on the receiving end of such recognition remain humble and committed to fulfilling the mission of the AIAEE.
“No award is earned by the sole person who gets the plaque,” Lindner said. “It is an accumulation of the work you’ve done and all the other people in the organization.”
Strong shared Lindner’s spirit of humility as he discussed the Outstanding Early Achievement Award.
“Receiving the Early Outstanding Achievement Award is humbling to me because AIAEE is a global organization that’s mission is aligned with ALEC’s mission,” Strong said. “Awards do not motivate me, but I am grateful to be recognized by the most important organization in our field.”
Both internally and externally, AIAEE is viewed as an elite and beneficial organization. Members see their commitment to AIAEE as long-term.
“I was honored to be selected as an AIAEE Fellow,” Murphrey said. “I look forwad to continuing my contributions to the organization and collaborating with this world class membership.”
Aside from the awards program the organization has instilled, AIAEE members can reap benefits from the group’s commitment to continued education and agriculture development.
“It is important to keep professional competencies up. You can’t solve today’s problems with the skillset you acquired 20 years ago when you got your Ph.D.,” Lindner said. “AIAEE provides members with cutting edge, emerging competencies needed to address a world with seven billion people in it.”