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Oliver Honored with Educator Award

North Dakota State University Department of Plant Sciences Associate Professor of Practice Rebekah Oliver received the 2020 North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Educator Award on June 18.
Oliver Honored with Educator Award

Dr. Rebekah Oliver

June 25, 2020

North Dakota State University Department of Plant Sciences Associate Professor of Practice Rebekah Oliver received the 2020 North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Educator Award on June 18. The Educator Award (previously called the NACTA Teacher Fellow Award) is presented at the NACTA Annual Conference to teachers who exhibit the best educational efforts in agricultural higher education. Thirty-one teachers of agriculture from sixteen post-secondary education institutions in the U.S. received the award. This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the conference was held virtually. 

Oliver graduated from NDSU with a B.S. in Microbiology in 2002 and a Ph.D. in Plant Sciences in 2006. She was hired by the Department of Plant Sciences in 2013 and teaches World Food Crops (PLSC 110) in spring semesters and Genetics (PLSC 315) in fall semesters. World Food Crops averages 125 students and Genetics averages 250 students, with six laboratory sections per semester. She advises undergraduates pursuing Crop and Weed Sciences and Biotechnology majors. She also teaches biotechnology capstone courses Seminar (MICR 494) and Thesis (MICR 491) to up to five students per class per semester. 

Oliver spent several years working as a geneticist and research scientist in government and private industry before returning to NDSU to teach. She believes her non-teaching work helps her advise students for career planning. She says, “I feel privileged to have been hired at NDSU,” and feels connected to her students because she was once a student at NDSU. She thinks a major strength of NDSU is the personal interest and concern of faculty for individual students. She also appreciates faculty who have mentored and helped her with her teaching skills and practices.

Oliver has been a member of NACTA for six years and serves on the Educational Issues and Teaching Improvement Committee and the Editorial Board for the NACTA Journal. She says, “NACTA is a great organization and I especially appreciate the balance of professional development and scholarly camaraderie of the NACTA membership.”

The NACTA was formed in 1955 to provide a forum for post-secondary agriculture teachers to discuss the professional advancement of agriculture, seek improvement in post-secondary teaching of agriculture and encourage, promote and reward instructional excellence in agriculture and research.The NACTA Journal is a professional refereed journal published quarterly for professional advancement and the scholarship of teaching and learning for NACTA members. More than 600 teachers have received the Educator Award since 1973. 

For more information on the NACTA, see https://www.nactateachers.org/index.php.

Author: Karen Hertsgaard, 701-231-5384, 
Editor: Kamie Beeson, 701-231-7123, 

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