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Ag Report


University Recognizes Outstanding Efforts

Cathie LavisCathie Lavis (above right) was one of four Kansas State University faculty members to earn a 2017 Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award. The awards were presented at the All-University Awards Ceremony on May 1.

“Students are my focus. I love hands-on instruction, and I am passionate about all of the courses I teach,” said Lavis, associate professor of landscape management. 

Lavis (M.S. ’93 horticulture, Ph.D. ’05 agronomy) teaches seven courses, co-advises the Horticulture Club, co-coaches the landscape contracting team, and has led six student study-abroad trips.

Through her efforts, K-State was the first university to work hand-in-hand with the Irrigation Association to develop an irrigation system design course that leads to certification.

K-State has been declared a Tree Campus USA three years in a row thanks to Lavis and her students.

Awards of Excellence

Dawn Caldwell (below right), senior grant specialist for the Agricultural Experiment Station, and Spencer Casey, business manager for the Western Kansas Agricultural Research Centers, received 2017 President’s Awards of Excellence for Unclassified Professionals.

Caldwell was selected for the team building, group activity, and service to the university award. She played a key role in preparing three of the U.S. AID Feed the Future Lab proposals and many other recent grants, bringing more than $100 million to K-State.

“Dawn always gets the job done and makes faculty-led proposals look their very best,” said Ernie Minton, associate dean for research and graduate programs.

Dawn CaldwellIn addition to research grant proposals, she helps submit proposals to fund international students and scholars. With her assistance, the number of international faculty, scholars, and researchers in the college increased 118 percent from 2010 to 2016. 

Casey (B.S. ’94 management) received the productivity, creativity, and innovation award. He supervises the accounting department, handles all information technology issues, administers the state and federal inventory system, and supplies technical support for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for the Western Kansas Agricultural Research Centers (WKARC) based at the Agricultural Research Center-Hays with additional research centers in Colby, Garden City, and Tribune.

He has written several online software applications and databases that make crucial information readily accessible.

“Spencer is a consummate team player,” said Bob Gillen, head of the WKARC. “He doesn’t worry about who gets credit, only that the job gets done. He is completely dedicated to his co-workers, his unit, and K-State.”