Agricultural educator receives Teacher Mentor Award from national organization

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Daniel Foster, associate professor of agricultural and extension education in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, recently was one of six educators nationwide to receive the National Association of Agricultural Educators Teacher Mentor Award.

Foster has served as an agriscience instructor, a cooperating teacher for preservice agricultural educators, and as a teacher educator at Ohio State and Penn State universities. His commitment to mentoring both teacher candidates and current educators has led him to his current role as a faculty member in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, where he oversees student teachers and is the instructor for two teaching-methods courses: one for secondary agriculture teachers and another for college agricultural instructors.

"Dr. Foster is always willing to share his skills, knowledge and expertise with his students," said Krista Pontius, National Association of Agricultural Educators Region VI vice president. "He demonstrates a positive attitude and acts as a positive role model for his students and most importantly, he takes a personal interest in his mentoring responsibility. He is truly invested in his student’s success and knows how to empower his students to develop their strengths and attributes to become productive agents of change in their future classrooms."

Foster has conducted more than 80 professional development workshops for teachers in several states since 2009. He also provides leadership to the agricultural teacher certification program and advises many students seeking to transition from other Penn State campuses to University Park to complete their teacher certification.

In addition, he has taught 12 undergraduate courses, participated in numerous recruitment and outreach activities, and disseminates his research on global competency and school-based agricultural education in multiple outlets. He serves on the executive board of Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education, a professional development initiative that aims to provide agricultural educators with curriculum and materials to challenge their students with inquiry-based learning. He is also the chair of the Special Interest Group on Teacher Education for the American Association for Agricultural Education.

Foster received doctoral and master's degrees in agricultural and extension education from Ohio State University and a bachelor's degree in agricultural education and agricultural technology management from the University of Arizona. He taught secondary agriculture in Willcox, Arizona, from 2002 to 2006.

Foster is a part of the National Teach Ag Campaign and was recognized by organizers as a "Teach Ag Champion." He received the 2015-16 Roy C. Buck Faculty Award in the Agricultural Sciences for his article, "Preparing Agricultural Educators for the World: Describing Global Competency in Agricultural Teacher Candidates."

He also was the recipient of the college's 2016 Excellence in Academic Advising Award. He is passionate about providing opportunities to connect secondary agriculture instructors and youth extension educators to opportunities for global learning in agriculture and has been instrumental in developing the PSU Global Teach Ag! Initiative.

Foster is on Twitter @FosterDanielD and can be reached by email at foster@psu.edu. For more information about agricultural education or becoming certified to serve as a secondary agriculture teacher and FFA adviser, send email to TeachAg@psu.edu.

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Last Updated December 22, 2016