Today@Sam Article

Bobby Lane Humbled By Excellence In Teaching Award

Dec. 11, 2017
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Haney

USDA original

Professor Robert “Bobby” Lane was honored in a ceremony in Washington D.C on Nov. 11 at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities where he was recognized as one of the regional United States Department of Agriculture Food and Agriculture Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award recipients.

During the recognition program Jay Akridge, provost at Purdue University and chair of the APLU Board on Agriculture Assembly and John Pascarella, dean of the Sam Houston State University College of Sciences and Engineering Technology, presented Lane with a plaque recognizing his, “scholarship, exemplary pedagogy and dedication to instruction.”

The Excellence in Teaching Award has a rigorous selection process beginning with administrator, alumnus, and colleague nominations, teaching quality assessments, student evaluations and records of proven professional growth. It is bestowed upon a single faculty member each year from over 500 faculty. 

“There is much personal satisfaction in being considered an “expert” in one’s chosen discipline, whether it be working on air conditioners, raising cattle, or being a short-order cook,” Lane said. “I’m so blessed to have close contact with many of my former students and I know that many have become highly respected teachers, scientists and professionals. The occasional confirmation that I may have played even a small role in their success is what inspires me to continue to be the best teacher I can be.”

Lane joined the SHSU agricultural sciences and technology department in 1982 and has taught over 25 different courses, ranging from Introductory Crop Science and Soil Fertility and Fertilizers to Integrated Pest Management and Sheep and Goat Production. 

“I’ve bled orange from the moment I stepped foot on this campus as a freshman ag major,” Lane said. “This school, the incredible professors I had in agriculture and biology and all the great friends I made here at Sam, have all left an indelible mark on my life.”

He is highly respected by his students for his passionate and engaging lectures and his ability to include real life examples from various hands-on laboratory and internship experiences.

“I try to utilize a variety of teaching approaches.  In addition to traditional lecture, accompanied by appropriate illustrations in class, I like to get students in the field as much as possible,” said Lane. “My teaching style and strategy are really determined by the class.  At heart, though, I’m a story teller.  I find that relating what I’m teaching to a real-world situation is much easier to digest than spouting out one fact after another.  I think it also helps if I can figure out a way to infuse a bit of humor into a lesson.  The most memorable times in class are the ones where everyone is laughing, even at my expense.”

While he was the only plant and soil scientist from a non-land grant university, he emphasized during the awards ceremony the importance of teaming up with the right people who embraced him as a participant in research and grant activities in which they share an interest. Lane concluded his speech with a call to action challenging those in attendance currently working at renowned agricultural research universities to reach out to their teaching partners at smaller universities. “We’re all in this together. I personally think we can make each other better,” Lane said. “What you plant now, you will harvest later.”

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