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Agriculture faculty members inducted as Purdue Teaching Academy fellows


stablished in 1998, Purdue’s Teaching Academy assembles outstanding teachers from across the university to work together to strengthen the quality of teaching and learning in undergraduate, graduate and engagement programs.

Among this year’s inductees are three faculty from Purdue Agriculture: Dennis Buckmaster, professor of agricultural and biological engineering; Elizabeth Karcher, associate professor of animal sciences; and Jenna Rickus, vice provost for teaching and learning and professor of agricultural and biological engineering.  “Dr. Buckmaster and Dr. Karcher have made tremendous contributions as teachers and scholars. Dr. Rickus has played a pivotal role in growing academic programs, classroom teaching and transformational experiences for students. These three faculty members powerfully represent the commitment our college makes to exemplary undergraduate and graduate teaching,” said Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture.

Dennis Buckmaster
Dennis Buckmaster

Buckmaster’s impact as a teacher is evident from the number of alumni who describe how valuable his classes have been in their careers. He has taught over 5000 student credit hours in 18 distinct courses covering a wide range of subjects,  including fluid power, electro-hydraulics, machinery design, engine applications, machinery management and power systems in both mobile and stationary equipment, as well as fundamental skills in problem solving, use of computing technology and improved understanding of the data pipeline in agriculture. He has served on and led multiple committees, including the University Curriculum Council and the College’s Curriculum and Student Relations Committee. As a dean’s fellow, he has been integral to the development of a Data Driven Agriculture minor. In his former role as assistant dean of academic programs, he restructured the College’s awards process and initiated the Celebration of Teaching Excellence annual event.



Elizabeth Karcher
Elizabeth Karcher

Karcher concentrates on developing innovative ways to integrate hands-on, problem-based learning across the animal sciences curriculum to enhance student interest and motivation and to extend that learning beyond the classroom. She has published multiple manuscripts about her teaching and student learning in Introduction to Animal Agriculture. She created a one-credit course titled “Cracking the Poultry Industry” to improve students’ familiarity with the poultry industry. For the past five years, she served as chair of the Animal Sciences Curriculum Committee and Undergraduate Programs Committee. She led the department in a three-year undergraduate curricular review that resulted in a new curriculum that will be implemented this fall, better preparing the 650 animal science majors for careers in agricultural industries. In 2019, she received the USDA Teaching and Student Engagement Award.



Jenna Rickus
Jenna Rickus

Rickus founded the Purdue international genetically engineered machine (iGEM) undergraduate research team and is a member of the Howard Hughes Science Education Alliance bringing authentic research into the classroom. She has won numerous awards for her teaching and advising, including the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Biomedical Engineering Teaching Award and the Outstanding Advisor in the College of Engineering Award. In her current role as vice provost for teaching and learning, Rickus provides leadership to the Purdue campus in undergraduate education and student success.

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