The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture recognized outstanding performance by 18 faculty and staff members at a Jan. 6 awards luncheon in Little Rock. Recipients included Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences faculty members at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Vice President for Agriculture Mark Cochran said, "The award recipients represent some 1,700 faculty and staff members on five university campuses, at research and Extension centers and stations throughout Arkansas, and in all 75 counties."

The Division of Agriculture includes the Cooperative Extension Service and the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station. In addition to conducting research and delivering information and educational services on agriculture and forestry, it also promotes public health and nutrition; opportunities for youth, families and communities; safe and secure food systems; and environmental sustainability.

Many research and Extension faculty members are also members of the teaching faculty on five university campuses.

The Robert G. F. and Hazel Taylor Spitze Land Grant University Faculty Award for Excellence was presented to Donna L. Graham, professor of agricultural and Extension education in Bumpers College on the Fayetteville campus. She joined the faculty in 1985 and led an initiative to develop the curriculum and gain approval for Extension education as a major and minor for University of Arkansas students. She created six courses in the Extension education curriculum and has taught 12 courses. She was Bumpers College associate dean from 2002 to 2010 and is a nationally recognized expert on higher education.

Casandra K. Cox, an instructor in the Department of Agricul­tural and Extension Education, received the Jack C. Justus Endowment for Teaching Excellence Award. She teaches courses on microcomputer applications and leadership develop­ment. She developed the innovative leadership course and helped develop and teach a graphic design course. She also has developed and taught a Web-based course for microcomputer applications.

The Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences Alumni Society Advising Award was presented to Mary C. Savin, professor of crop, soil and environmental sciences, with a focus on the environmental soil and water sciences major. She has been co-advisor of the multiple award-winning CSES Club, an honors program instructor and a mentor to undergraduate students as well as graduate students for research projects.

John W. White awards for outstanding teaching, research and extension service are named for the U of A System's first vice president for agriculture when the Division of Agriculture was made a statewide unit of the U of A System in 1959.

The John W. White Outstanding Teaching Award, jointly awarded by the Division of Agriculture and Bumpers College, went to Michael R. Evans, professor of horticulture. His course Web-site evolved into a regional on-line textbook project with several collaborators, funded by nationally competitive grants. The "Greenhouse Management On-Line" learning center is now widely used across the country by instructors and industry professionals.

The John W. White Outstanding Research Award was presented to Steven C. Ricke, who holds the Donald "Buddy" Wray Endowed Chair for Food Safety, in the Department of Food Science. He is an international authority on food safety with a focus on preventing Salmonella contamination during food production and processing. He is director of the Division of Agriculture's Center for Food Safety and is co-founder and president of the Arkansas Association for Food Protection.

The John W. White Outstanding Extension State Faculty Award went to Robert C. "Bob" Scott, a professor and Extension weed specialist in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences with expertise in herbicide efficacy, weed resistance and new technology. Scott has been a leader in developing and helping producers implement practices to manage glyphosate-resistant pigweed in soybeans.

The John W. White Outstanding County Extension Educator Award winner was Robert Seay, Extension staff chair in Benton County. He and his staff serve a diverse agricultural sector and provide family, consumer and youth education for a diverse population. As an authority on forage management, Seay has helped make bermudagrass hay an important crop for Arkansas farmers, who frequently win national bermudagrass hay quality competitions.

The John W. White Outstanding Team Award went to a group that developed the Arkansas Phosphorus Index risk assessment tool and training program to guide environmentally appropriate animal manure applications on pastures. Team members are Mike Daniels, Andrew Sharpley, Chuck West and Tommy Daniel, all in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences; Edward Gbur, director of the Agricultural Statistics Laboratory; Brian Haggard, director of the Arkansas Water Resources Center; Nathan Slaton, director of Soil Testing and Research; and Karl VanDevender, Extension engineer, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering.

The John W. White Non-Classified Support Personnel Award was presented to Justin “J. J.” Pitman, program director for the C.A. Vines Arkansas 4-H Center at Ferndale. He has helped organize programs ranging from 4-H youth camps to training workshops for corporations and public agencies. Programs promoting healthy living, citizenship and leadership include the ExCEL Leadership and Teambuilding Program, Arkansas Outdoor School, Science Enrichment Education for Kids, Summer Day Camp and State 4-H Camps.

The John W. White Classified Support Personnel Award for the Cooperative Extension Service went to Jo Ann Fish, a purchasing specialist in the Cooperative Extension Service Financial Services Department. She works with staff members across the organization to implement effective purchasing and accounting practices.

The John W. White Classified Support Personnel Award recipient for the Agricultural Experiment Station was Trish Watkins, fiscal support analyst for the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness. She is active in Fayetteville campus governance, currently serving as chair of the Staff Senate Legislative Committee and staff representative on the Campus Council.