In addition to teaching such courses as livestock and meat evaluation and animal nutrition, Kelley is coach of the junior and senior livestock judging team, adviser for the beef cattle show team, and club adviser for the Block and Bridle animal science club.
Kelley says that his teaching is built around an "interactive" approach with "student/professor dialogue and student involvement."
One way in which he makes a point with his livestock judging team is to give members a single link from a steel chain, and insisting that they carry it with them in their pocket or on a key chain every day. He carries one as well.
"It's a reminder that the team will be only as strong as its weakest link," he said.
Kelley's selection for the teaching honor is especially impressive in that he has been teaching for only four years, but he already enjoys a near-legendary reputation among students in his agriculture classes and in the groups with which he works.
Some of the comments from Kelley's students have included:
"Dr. Kelley's enthusiastic lecture style and deep interest and knowledge of his topics have made each of his classes both challenging and enjoyable for me."
"Dr. Kelley is dedicated to the development of his students as people, in addition to building good students...He is a mentor, a role model, and a friend to all of his students."
"Dr. Kelley is a great inspiration for all his students. He is a professor that goes above and beyond the call of duty for his students...He motivates his students to be the best that they can be and he pushes them to accept the challenges that lie ahead of them."
"You have an incredible ability to get students to understand material that they never expected to even care about learning...I will always have my link of chain..."
Kelley says he tries to make students "critical thinkers and effective problem solvers with the ability to reason and make sound and rational decisions."
Outside his teaching and group advising, Kelley assists with financial management and budgeting for the university farm, is active in buying and selling university livestock, and organizes and hosts seminars and short courses for community livestock producers and SHSU students on current and economical management practices.
He has also been involved in a number of research activities, served as a livestock judge throughout the state, presented programs and talks on various topics concerning beef cattle production, written articles for industry publications, and participated in several regional and national meetings.
He is a member of the American Society of Animal Science, the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, and associate editor of the Texas Journal of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
After earning his bachelor's degree from Texas A&M in 1986 he worked for two years for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service as a county agent. He returned to A&M to work as a graduate assistant in the Extension Service, completing his master's degree in 1991 and doctorate in 1994.
Kelley will receive $1,200 for winning the Excellence in Teaching Award and will be recognized at SHSU commencement exercises May 17.