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Chancellor’s distinguished teaching, research awards go to CASNR leaders

Chancellor’s distinguished teaching, research awards go to CASNR leaders

Two standout faculty members with Texas Tech University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources have been honored with Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Faculty Awards. Cynthia McKenney, the university’s Rockwell Professor in Horticulture in the Department of Plant and Soil Science, and Michael Ballou, an associate professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences and CASNR’s Associate Dean for Research, were honored during special ceremonies.

The prestigious teaching and research awards ceremony, which included a $5,000 stipend and an engraved medallion, was held on Friday (Feb. 10) in the Forum Room of Texas Tech’s School of Law. Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert L. Duncan and Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech president, made the presentations.

McKenney, who received a Distinguished Teaching Award, is a nationally recognized professor of ornamental horticulture. Over the years her research efforts have focused on development and release of native plant varieties included in the Raider Wildflower Collection. Her research also includes working with native plants, focusing on wildflower enhancement to increase drought tolerance, plant architecture, and length and intensity of floral display.

In the past, McKenney has held a number of academic leadership positions, including serving as an undergraduate program coordinator, and greenhouse administrator at Tech. At Texas A&M she worked as an assistant and associate professor of urban horticulture and extension specialist, as well as an assistant and associate professor of horticulture and regional distance education coordinator at Tech. In 2010, she was named a professor of horticulture and distance education leader at Tech.

McKenney received her bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture and her Texas provisional secondary teaching certificate in broad field science from Tech. Her master’s degree in horticulture and doctorate in higher education administration are from Tech. She is a fellow in the American Society for Horticultural Sciences, and currently serves on the executive board as vice president of the Education Division.

Separately, Ballou, who received a Distinguished Research Award, is an expert in nutrition and immunology. As associate dean for research he provides primary leadership for CASNR’s graduate and research program development, including graduate student recruiting initiatives, responses to request for proposals, and research team building.

Ballou’s research has centered on understanding how the innate immune responses of animals at various physiological states are involved in resistance to diseases and modulation of innate immune responses through management and nutrition practices. His research program has identified strategies that improve both the health and welfare of animals.

Prior to joining the Tech faculty, Ballou served as an associate instructor and graduate research assistant at the University of California-Davis. He received his bachelor’s degree in animal science, and his doctorate in nutritional biology from the University of California-Davis.

Program officials note that other faculty members receiving distinguished teaching awards this year include Karen Alexander with the College of Human Sciences, and Lora Deahl with the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Other faculty members presented with distinguished research awards were Yoojin Chae with the College of Human Sciences; Harvinder Gill with the professor College of Engineering; and Michael Jordan with the College of Arts and Sciences.

Written by Norman Martin

CONTACT: Steven Fraze, Interim Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or steven.fraze@ttu.edu

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