Ben Weikert, an assistant professor of Agriculture and Animal Science at SUNY Cobleskill has been selected as a 2021 recipient of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Educator Award. The NACTA Educator Award is a once-in-a-lifetime honor given to individuals whom the professional society deems the very best in agriculture education. Dr. Weikert was honored at the society’s annual conference, held virtually this week.
The award, backed by Dr. Weikert’s students, peers, and administrators, further validates his years of effectiveness in educating and motivating students in agriculture and natural life sciences.
“In my role as a professor that teaches both Animal Science and Agricultural Education courses, I am lucky to be able to teach in a classroom, in a laboratory, in a pasture, and in a barn,” says Weikert. “While I facilitate different applied and theoretical experiences for my students, I try to be an encouraging but realistic voice for them as they
go through one of their most important life experiences, their college education.”
“I have observed Dr. Weikert’s teaching on numerous occasions and I am consistently impressed by the high levels of student participation in class discussions and hands-on activities,” said Assistant Professor Caitlin Foley. “I am also impressed by his ability to field difficult questions from students and turn them into teachable moments. Dr. Weikert is especially deserving of this award as he is dedicated to student learning as well as constant self-assessment and improvement.”
“Early in his career at SUNY Cobleskill, Dr. Weikert took a leadership role in reviewing the livestock curriculum, recommending thoughtful and significant changes centered around student preparedness in entering the modern agriculture industry,” said Professor Lynn Dunn. “He has always put his students’ interests first and that is reflected in the consistently high evaluation marks given to him by his students.”
Dr. Weikert has been a member of the SUNY Cobleskill faculty for five years. He holds degrees in Animal Science and Agriculture and earned his Ph.D. in Agricultural Education and Leadership from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Weikert is the fourth SUNY Cobleskill faculty member to receive NACTA’s Educator Award, following Robert M. McGuire (1979), Ralph M. Smalley (1982), and Douglas Goodale (1995).
SUNY Cobleskill’s Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science offers the lab and field coursework to enter masters and doctoral programs in animal science and the course rigor necessary to apply to veterinary medicine programs. The College also offers Bachelor of Technology and Associate degrees in Animal Science. Modern chemistry and biology laboratories give students additional valuable hands-on experiences in the natural sciences, and the College maintains herds of beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, meat goats and horses. Other livestock housed on the college farm include swine and poultry.