Tennessee Tech agriculture professors win national award for journal article

When two Tennessee Tech University agriculture professors recently won a national award for a journal article they researched and wrote, they say it was like bringing that honor back to its rightful home.

Janice Branson and Bruce Greene recently received the E.B. Knight Journal Award at the annual meeting of North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture.

Knight, for whom the award was named, was a TTU agriculture professor from 1949 to 1964. He was also a charter member of the NACTA, serving as its inaugural president in 1955 and journal editor from 1958 to 1960.

“This connection to the university definitely makes winning the award even more special to us,” said Greene.

Another factor that makes the award special, Branson said, is the heightened level of competition for this year’s award.

“Sixty-six articles from all over the U.S. and Canada were nominated this year and narrowed down to seven finalists,” she said. “Normally, the nominees are narrowed down to only three or four finalists, so having seven this year says something about the quality of the other articles ours was competing against.”

The award-winning article was published in the June issue of the NACTA journal.

It compared the performance of traditional four-year students to community college transfer students in TTU’s agriculture program.

Researching the article and compiling data required looking at transcripts for 275 students since 2001 and cataloging their performance in five introductory agriculture classes — plant science, animal science, soil science, economics of agriculture and agricultural engineering technology.

“Some of our findings were expected, and some were unexpected,” Branson said. “Ultimately, though, what we found can be used as a tool for the School of Agriculture to more accurately plan its student recruitment strategy.”