December 2022

In this issue:

NACTA Featured Member: Michel Wattiaux
#NACTA23 Poster & Oral Abstracts Due February 1st
#NACTA23 Teaching Awards Due February 1

NACTAlks - For Members By Members
Upcoming Events and Deadlines
New Members
Renew or Become a New NACTA Member

NACTA Featured Member: Michel Wattiaux

Each month we sit down with a member to highlight their academic and professional career, and to see how they are making the best of their membership in NACTA. This month’s Featured Member is NACTA Global Engagement Chair and winner of the NACTA 2022 Distinguished Educator award Michel Wattiaux.

Michel Wattiaux
Professor – Animal and Dairy Sciences
University of Wisconsin - Madison

How long have you been a member of NACTA?

My first meeting was in 2002 which was the year I got the position where I am now. From day one it was part of the job description that I would do undergrad teaching, so I was looking for help. I went to my first meeting that year in Alberta and it was such a beautiful experience. Looking in the mirror, discipline-specific professional meetings are pretty competitive. Who is the star? Who has the newest or latest idea for research and grants? Who’s student are you? At NACTA there was none of that. It was all about sharing how to be better instructors and changing the hearts and minds of our students. This was unique and I’d never seen this anywhere else.

What differences have you noticed in NACTA from your first meeting in 2002 to your most recent in-person meeting in 2018 (Iowa State)?

Rick and Marilyn were so welcoming in 2002 that it really made it feel like we were part of the community. Every time I went back, that sense of community only grew stronger and stronger over time. I appreciated more and more in the context of becoming a better educator in animal and dairy science, but I’ve learned to appreciate the context of the membership. Teaching in very different contexts in ways that can only help all of us in life sciences. Having a sense for those only helps all of us no matter where we find ourselves.

Tell me about your role with NACTA now/this year.

NACTA is working hard to gain membership and get people to the meetings. I try to contribute in different ways as much as I can. I contributed to reviewing papers and the international outreach committees, now that I’m getting to the end of my career, I thought I needed to give back before it’s too late. Part of my portfolio is to take students abroad. I nominated myself for the Global Engagement Chair, for which I’ve recently been elected, and I look forward to the globalization in this position

What is your most memorable teaching moment?

One of my principal guiding ideas is that technology needs to serve pedagogy and not the other way around. Unfortunately, many institutions see tech as the answer to all their problems. In the early 2000s I didn’t trust all the new technology available, and I wanted to rely on a good old powerpoint presentation. While rushing to class and trying to get connected to start my presentation, after the first few slides the cursor started moving around on its own. The students and I were all very confused and it disrupted the flow of the presentation. I had to stop and restart the presentation to fix the problem only to realize that I had put my mouse in my pocket. Sometimes technology can get in the way of good teaching.


#NACTA23 Poster & Oral Abstracts Due February 1st

N23 Banner

As a reminder, the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) is currently calling for poster and oral presentation abstracts for the annual conference. The NACTA 2023 Conference will be held in Las Cruces, New Mexico from June 20-24, 2023. The NACTA conference provides opportunities to connect with and learn from others who share the same passion for the improvement of teaching and learning in agriculture, food and natural resources. The annual NACTA conference will provide you with new teaching techniques, ideas and resources. It is also one of the best professional development activities for networking with other teaching professionals where the common discipline is “teaching.”

Click Here for Full Submission Guidelines

Questions? Contact NACTA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Deadline: February 1, 2023

All abstracts are reviewed by the NACTA Journal Editorial Board and the Editor. Feedback on rejected abstracts will be available on request only. Please note that all correspondence regarding submissions will be directed to the corresponding author noted during submission. NACTA will notify this contact of an abstract's status in April 2023. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to share that status with any fellow authors.

If accepted, the presenter must be registered for the conference by the Early Bird Deadline of April 15, 2023. Failure to do so will result in your presentation being pulled from the conference program.

Click Here to Submit Your Abstract


#NACTA23 Teaching Award Nominations Due February 1st

One of the central purposes of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) is to recognize those individuals whose efforts represent the very best in agricultural higher education. Each year, NACTA offers many opportunities for outstanding educators to be honored. Submissions are now being accepted for each of the 2023 awards, to be given at the annual meeting in Las Cruces, New Mexico next June. 

For information on how to nominate an educator for any of the following awards, please visit our website here. The deadline to submit nominations is February 1, 2023.

Click Here to Submit a Teaching Award Nomination

Awards available for nomination include:

If you have any questions please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


NACTAlks - For Members By Members

12.22 NACTAlk

Click here to see how Hector Perez prepares his grad students to navigate the professional world
through the use of soft skills teaching scenarios

Each of us has our own teaching personality. Each of us has also likely experienced successes and setbacks while teaching that would help our colleagues if they knew about them. What better way to celebrate those “teachable moments” that happen in our classrooms and labs than by sharing these short stories from the teaching trenches!

NACTAlks Teaching is a new component of our newsletter that will showcase our teachers (faculty and graduate students) sharing short stories of something that worked, or didn’t work, while teaching. Consider submitting a video yourself or nominating someone to submit a video that…

  •  Is less than 2-minutes in length
  •  Is recorded with a camera that is held horizontally (for optimal taping with your cell phone)
  •  Highlights a lesson learned from a recent teaching experience (i.e., “that worked!” or “I’ll change that next time”)
  •  Is edu-taining 

Submit your short video to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and consider using to submit larger video files.

We hope that the NACTAlks Teaching series will show off the teaching personalities of our members and inspire great things for your students!

Got questions? Contact Nick Fuhrman, NACTA President-elect at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Upcoming Events and Deadlines

NACTA Offices Closed for Christmas Holiday
December 23, 2022

NACTA Offices Closed for New Years Holiday
December 30, 2022

#NACTA23 Conference Registration Open
January 2023

Deadline for #NACTA23 Poster & Oral Abstracts
February 1, 2023 - Click here to Submit!

Deadline for #NACTA23 Teaching Award Nominations
February 1, 2023 - Click here to Submit!


New Members

NACTA had 8 new members this month. We hope you join us in welcoming them!

Will Doss - AR - Southern Hannah Parker - NM - Western  Alfred Tsikati - Swaziland - Eastern 
Birgit Pruess - ND - Central Kristina Vallery - OK - Central  Tegan Young - FL - Southern 
Katherine Witrick - FL - Southern  Zhihing Xu - TX - Southern 

Renew or Become a New NACTA Member

NACTA is the largest professional development organization that focuses specifically on the scholarship of teaching and learning in agriculture, food and natural resources.

Need to renew your membership? Want to invite a colleague to join? Want to change your membership status? Visit the membership page here.

We appreciate your NACTA membership!