5/9/05 Contact: David Granger, 334/844-9999 (grangdm@auburn.edu)
Jamie Creamer: 334-844-4877 (jcreamer@auburn.edu)


AUBURN – Brian Jackson of Lumberton, a graduate student in Auburn University’s Department of Horticulture, has been selected to receive the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture’s 2005 NACTA Graduate Student Teaching Award.

The national award recognizes and rewards a graduate student who excels as a teacher in the agricultural disciplines. Jackson is the first Auburn student ever to receive the honor.

Jackson came to Auburn in 2003 with the promise that he would be given an active role in the classroom, and that pledge has been fulfilled. Since arriving on campus, he has taught six different classes and has been responsible for at least two lab sections and one class per semester.

Jackson, whose master’s research is focusing on the utilization of cotton gin compost and other agricultural waste products as compost for horticultural crop production, said that while he enjoys the research, teaching is what drives him.

“As a teacher, I feel it is essential that a classroom environment foster independent thought, reward creativity and be relevant, meaningful and fun,” Jackson said. “I truly believe that students do not learn effectively by merely sitting in class listening to teachers, memorizing assignments and spitting out answers. Instead, learning should be interesting, interactive, involving and spontaneous.”

Horticulture assistant professor Amy Wright, Jackson’s major professor, nominated him for the award.

Jackson earned his bachelor’s degree in horticulture from North Carolina State University and will receive his master’s in horticulture from Auburn in August. He will pursue his doctorate at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

His career goal: “I want a classroom of my own.”

Auburn University is a pre-eminent land-grant and comprehensive research institution with nearly 23,000 students and 6,500 faculty and staff. Ranked among the top 50 public universities nationally, Auburn is Alabama’s largest educational institution, offering more than 230 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs.

(Contributed by Jamie Creamer.)

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