CANR names 2019 Excellence in Teaching Award winners

AFRE Associate Professor Brent Ross receives the 2019 CANR Excellence in Teaching Established Teacher Award. Community Sustainability Assistant Professor Aaron McKim receives the 2019 CANR Excellence in Teaching New Teacher Award.

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) offers two Excellence in Teaching Awards meant to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to quality scholarship of teaching as evidenced by their contributions to teaching and learning and demonstrated success in these areas.

Faculty, staff and students can submit nominations for the Established Teacher Award (five or more years teaching experience) and the New Teacher Award (less than five years teaching experience).

Excellence in Teaching Award: Established Teacher

Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics (AFRE) Associate Professor Brent Ross receives the 2019 CANR Excellence in Teaching Established Teacher Award. Ross is also the director of AFRE's Food Industry Management Undergraduate Program.


Ross introduces innovations in the classroom, engaging students using approaches including flipped classrooms, self-directed learning and technology to encourage discussion and meaningful participation and simulate owning a business. He regularly attends developmental workshops on instructional design and best practices.

Ross is recognized as a leader in case study instruction, coaching winning student teams in case study competitions and leading workshops to train others in using case studies in the classroom to foster real-word learning and problem solving. Since 2013, he has collaborated with the Harvard Business School to co-direct the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association’s workshop on case study writing and teaching.

Praised as centrally important in his role as a teacher and advisor to the Food Industry Management Undergraduate program, Ross has also received an excellence in teaching award from his department. He serves on undergraduate and graduate curricular committees in his department and the college.

Excellence in Teaching Award: New Teacher Award

Department of Community Sustainability (CSUS) Assistant Professor Aaron McKim receives the 2019 CANR Excellence in Teaching New Teacher Award.

CANR Senior Associate Dean Kelly Millenbah and CANR Dean Ron Hendrick present the Excellence in Teaching Award to Aaron McKim (center) from the MSU Department of Community Sustainability.

McKim teaches courses in community sustainability; agriculture, food and natural resources education; and leadership. He takes risks in the classroom, changing the standard for teaching in CSUS and the expectation of students. Additionally, he uses student feedback to improve a course and the way he teaches it while the course is in progress.

His research focuses on the role of education in solving ecological and social problems. An advocate for evidence-based teaching, McKim integrates his teaching scholarship into his own classrooms and uses the results to improve and has numerous publications focused on higher education teaching and learning. He has also been instrumental in developing a new Master’s of Fine Arts in agriculture, food and natural resources education that’s set to begin in fall 2020.

Students have praised McKim for his ability to listen to and connect with his students and help them achieve their personal goals, and said he is the kind of teacher who leaves a lasting impact on them.

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