College of Agriculture & Human Ecology

Dr. Jeff Plant

Dr. Jeff Plant was recently recognized for his lifetime achievements and outstanding support of Tennessee Tech University at the 2015 Outstanding Alumni Awards. The following is his acceptance speech:

February 6 - Eight alumni, including Dr. Jeff Plant, second from right, were recognized at the 2015 Outstanding Alumni Awards.

Well—Good Evening!

I am certainly glad to be “standing in this spot” this given day! And, I must say that I was quite surprised and had no such “expectation” to become a nominee—much less receive an award—from Tennessee Tech University and the School of Agriculture and Human Ecology! I do appreciate their confidence in me.

We several awardees tonight either graduated from or work for an excellent university, one that fosters growth among Faculty and students. For example, our own College of Agriculture and Human Ecology houses 19 different programs of study, ranging from Agritourism to Housing and Design; Pre-Veterinary Science to Food, Nutrition and Dietetics. In my opinion, and as many other faculty of the College believe, our programs “do well prepare” our young people as they graduate and “face” life after school. It can be scary prospects to graduate you know!

Much of our teaching in the college is centered around life application problems: real life situations, such as how to better feed and nurture our families; how to better plan finances and our budgets to reach our long term goals for the family; and how to better serve the “other” so that all succeed when possible. Speaking of service, if truth be told, service toward others is in fact where it’s at! So keep your head down, keep busy and serve others!

Now our mission as a College is to prepare students for leadership roles in the food, fiber and natural resources by providing state of the art learning, through lecture, demonstration, and by example.

Speaking of state of the art learning, our faculty employ a fair amount of current/cutting edge technologies. I often see them working hard to stay current and develop new ways of reaching new generations. They are to be commended! I might add, as we age and age a little bit more, this process seems to be just a bit harder and just a bit harder! Some of you know what I am talking about!

Now, our younger generation of learners are quite quick to pick up the use emerging technologies. Well then, what will our future bring? We may not know right at this moment … but you can bet “technology teaching” will be part of the amalgams of learning for our future.

In this dance between technology and teaching, I truly hope we do not lose the human interaction between student and teacher. The “sticks and bricks” might be removed, but there is nothing like human interaction! There is a great joy in watching someone else learn what you know! Or better yet—learning what they know. Many of you may remember that moment—that moment when the “light bulb” came on and you got it, or they got it … and YOU got to be a part of it!

I certainly use and teach with technology, but technology does not replace who I AM; It only supports what I DO! More specifically, our purpose in Human Ecology is to prepare young professionals to become effective people. Wow! NOW that’s a program I can get behind!

Let me see now:

  • the health and well being of the family;
  • the basic financial health and wealth of what families need (What they should do and what they should not do).

And I get to teach this stuff and they pay me to do it? yeah!

OK … so every college student should have a course in Consumer Economics or Personal and Family Finance!

Let’s think back; think back to your younger years:

“Oh, Oh, the MONEY WOES we could have ALL AVOIDED if we only KNEW what we KNOW NOW WHEN WE WERE YOUNG!"

And young people, be awfully careful how you choose to look at men or women who have grey hair! YOU SEE! THEY HAVE EARNED EVERY ONE OF THEM paying the bills and raising the children!

I do see now what we teach in the School of Agriculture and Human Ecology! The content we teach becomes part of what THEIR children learn.

Now that’s a program I can get behind!

It is quite hard to believe, but I have been teaching just over 14 years here at TTU, and in total, some 27 years dedicated to higher education. I continue to gain respect for this great university and what it means to the Upper Cumberland region. Simply put, it is true: "TTU is a GREAT PLACE TO BE!" In fact, we are a hub of new opportunity for new students! We as a university have a long track record of “moving people from where they are to where they want to be!"

I am one of many, many graduates who attended TTU and was taught something—and actually learned something—while I was here.

I have been blessed in my short life to have a good wife and two beautiful daughters; I believe they will fair well in raising their families—albeit a struggle at times. I also have a strong, strong extended family around me. They have been a new joy to my new life and they have taught me many things.

And in closing and simply all now said, “I thank you for the short time I have had to share my thoughts and a few of my “experiences” with this esteemed group. And I must say I am grateful to be honored AND selected as this years College of Agriculture and Human Ecology’s Outstanding Alumni for 2015.”