A national organization is honoring a Mississippi State University associate professor for outstanding contributions to teaching.

Kirk A. Swortzel received a North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Teaching Fellow Award at the organization’s 2007 annual meeting.

Swortzel is a faculty member in MSU’s School of Human Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He serves as undergraduate coordinator for the agricultural information science and agricultural science degree programs. His interests include teacher education, agricultural literacy and professional development of agriscience teachers.

“Dr. Swortzel serves as an advocate for agricultural education in Mississippi,” said Gary Jackson, director of the School of Human Sciences. “He works closely with teachers and state department officials to improve agricultural education and the National FFA Association in Mississippi.”

Swortzel received his bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech in agricultural education and a master’s in agricultural and extension education from the University of Tennessee. He earned a doctorate at Ohio State University in agricultural education. He has been awarded honorary state FFA degrees in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee for his work with youth.

The North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture is a professional society that focuses on promoting, recognizing and rewarding excellence in teaching agriculture and related areas at the post-secondary level.