From the agriculture industry to the classroom: Dr. John Mehaffey draws on field experience in his new academic role
April 15, 2019
Dr. John Mehaffey, associate professor of agriculture at Stephen F. Austin State University, is the 2019 Teaching Excellence Award recipient for the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture. Photo by Hardy Meredith
Although Mehaffey, associate professor of agriculture in SFA's Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, didn't initially plan to pursue a career in academia, it seems, as the adage goes, he has taken to it like a pig to mud.
"My favorite part of teaching is the students," Mehaffey said. "You get to see a lot of different perspectives on life, and each student has something to offer to our program, to me as an individual and to my family."
Mehaffey joined SFA in 2012 following a career in research and development in the meat industry. He believes this experience in the private sector provides him with valuable insight to share with students.
Students in Mehaffey's classes obtain direct and extensive experience in swine, goat and sheep production - from reproduction and health to sales.
"I almost see my classroom as an experiment," he said. "The swine center is a constantly evolving process."
Mehaffey explained that because there is not a large market for commercial swine in Texas, the center focuses its efforts on providing quality livestock for 4-H and FFA students to show across the state.
In addition to managing the sheep, goat and swine centers, Mehaffey serves as the faculty advisor for the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and the SFA Livestock Judging Team.
Mehaffey's dedication to students, as well as the hands-on nature of his classes, earned him a 2019 Teaching Excellence Award. The award, given out annually to one faculty member in each of SFA's six colleges and a seventh Faculty Senate awardee, is based on knowledge of subject matter, quality of lectures and assignments, and enthusiasm for teaching.
The award also recognizes faculty members' commitment to continuous improvement, contribution to the quality of teaching at SFA by assisting and encouraging other faculty members, and interest in and availability to students.
By Sarah Fuller, outreach coordinator for forestry and agriculture