WIU ag program receives national recognition

Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 5:28 PM CST
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MACOMB (WGEM) - Western Illinois University’s school of agriculture has received national recognition for it’s ag education program.

The National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) presented the director of the program, Dr. Andy Baker, with the 2021 NAAE Outstanding Postsecondary Agriculture Program award at a convention in New Orleans in December.

Baker, who has led the program at WIU for 24 years now, said he was honored to receive the award, but he said it really comes down to the hard work and passion of the students through the years.

“This award is a true reflection of my students, not necessarily me. I always had that philosophy, give them the nuts and bolts and the tools to be a successful teacher, and let them develop their own teaching style. So they feel confident when they go out there and say this is my program and I’m going to build it this way,” said Baker.

He said he also believes the program has been successful due to the field experience students receive while teaching kids about the agriculture industry in local elementary and high schools.

“All of these field experiences build, building self confidence, being able to become an effective teacher, knowing the content... all those things become critically important and I think that’s why we have the high placement rates in this program,” said Baker.

He said his goal for the program moving forward is to continue to produce high quality ag instructors that can secure teaching positions, retain the positions, secure tenure and help with the state’s teacher shortage.

You can find out more about WIU’s agriculture programs here.

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