Mark Russell Purdue UniversityI am humbled to serve NACTA as we “provide all post-secondary teachers of agricultural, environmental, natural, and life sciences a forum for discussion and experiences related to improving and recognition of excellence in teaching and learning.” That is the purpose of NACTA. It is in NACTA that I find like-minded professionals and a bond of fellowship as I continue to make new friends and strive to improve my teaching effectiveness.

We come from many diverse cultures and disciplines and our stakeholders assume that our students are receiving cutting-edge and relevant content. It is to NACTA that we look for sharing and learning about teaching practices, methods of engagement, instruction, assessment, and evaluation of learning across our disciplines. You advance teaching practices and benefit your students when you read the NACTA Journal, bring your two- or four-year students to the NACTA Judging Conference, submit abstracts for posters or oral presentations at the Annual Conference, receive awards, become a Campus Ambassador, or follow us on Facebook.

Every year we are reminded of the critical shortage of a workforce with relevant discipline knowledge and skills. Employers expect that graduates have communication, education, problem-solving, critical thinking skills, and intercultural effectiveness to collaborate with people of different cultures. We all are seeking ways to build more learner-centered environments where two- and four-year institutions value and celebrate student interdisciplinary achievement and success.

NACTA has advanced excellence in teaching and learning for 62 years. We are working hard to improve and communicate our unique relevancy and value to our disciplines, employers, and stakeholders. I invite you to join, bring students to the NACTA Judging Conference, attend the June annual NACTA Conference – truly a professional development event. While at the Conference join a committee. The more involved you can be, the more you will benefit from our network of approximately 800 members.

NACTA is working hard to build upon our successes and create a more sustainable business model for the next 65 years and beyond. The NACTA Foundation supports graduate and student recognition and we are indebted to our partners in supporting programs and the educational institutions which host our conferences. This year we are focusing on expanding opportunities for members to be involved in committee leadership and year-long contributions. The website lists the chairs of seven great committees. These committees welcome your involvement and I encourage you to follow your passion and contact the appropriate committee chairperson.

NACTA is being challenged by our discipline, industries, and communities to strengthen Career & Technical Education and address workforce development demands of today. We have a unique value message and focus on the whole student more that many other professional organizations.

I encourage you to bring students to the NACTA Judging Conference, April 18-21 at North East Community College, Norfolk, Nebraska and/or to the Annual NACTA Conference, June 12-15 at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa to “Grow Your Adventure.” I intend to serve, encourage, and challenge NACTA to be better and make even more of a difference in the future. Best wishes and I look forward to hearing from you.


Mark Russell
Purdue University
NACTA President 2017-2018