Sioux City, Iowa – The Morningside University Regina Roth Applied Agricultural and Food Studies Department was recently awarded the Outstanding Postsecondary Program Award by the Iowa Association of Agricultural Educators (IAAE) at its annual convention held June 27-29, 2022, in Ankeny, Iowa.

The Outstanding Postsecondary Agriculture Program Award recognizes exemplary postsecondary institutions and full-time young farmer and adult ag ed programs. Areas considered in determining the award winner include program mission, curricula, experiential learning opportunities, leadership development, community partnerships, marketing, and professional growth opportunities for faculty and staff. 

“It is an honor to receive this award, and it is certainly a reflection of the tremendous support our programs have within our campus community and beyond,” said Dr. Thomas Paulsen, head of the department. “Our team is excited to continue developing high-quality experiential learning opportunities for all of our students. We know that combined with the rigor of our academic programs, our students learn and graduate from an environment that sets them up for successful careers in the agricultural and food industries.

Additionally, Assistant Applied Agricultural and Food Studies Professor Dan Witten was elected to the IAAE Board of Directors as the vice president for postsecondary programs. Witten will represent postsecondary agricultural education programs in the state through his work as a board member.

“We are very proud of Professor Witten and his nearly 25 years of service to agricultural education in Iowa,” Paulsen noted. “Dan previously taught as a secondary agricultural education instructor and FFA advisor and we are pleased to have him as a faculty member at Morningside. He will represent postsecondary agricultural education well.”

Witten, Paulsen, and Applied Agricultural and Food Studies Externship Coordinator Melissa Nelson were all in attendance at the Iowa Agricultural Education Summer Conference where these honors were bestowed, joining  more than 200 secondary and post-secondary instructors from across the state.  The conference serves as professional development and an opportunity to foster idea sharing among agriculture programs.

The IAAE is a state affiliate of the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) professional organization, which places high value on continuing education in agriculture.

The Morningside University Regina Roth Applied Agricultural and Food Studies Department was launched in 2015 in response to the demand for talent in the agriculture sector in the Siouxland area and beyond. Since that time, the program has experienced significant growth and has implemented a variety of experiential learning opportunities for its students, including an on-campus garden and the recent addition of the Rosen Ag Center, state-of-the-art Lags Greenhouse, and the Morningside Farm. Learn more about the program here.