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Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation

May 26 2021

Spinks Selected for Roy R. Jackson Award at ABAC

TIFTON—Kim Spinks has been selected as the 2021 recipient of the Roy R. Jackson Award for Staff Excellence, presented each year to the top staff member at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Presented in memory of Roy R. Jackson, Sr., award recipients must have completed at least 10 years of continuous full-time service to ABAC.  Award criteria states that the staff member must be dependable, loyal, reliable, and one who contributes to the growth and development of the college beyond the normal call of duty. Now serving as the Office Coordinator for the Office of Academic Support, Spinks has been an ABAC staff member for 22 years. A coworker states Spinks is always pleasant and professional, whether her focus is on a recruit, applicant, student, graduate, parent, alumnus, visitor or an ABAC employee.  She has proven to be flexible and adaptive at ABAC, serving in various positions and working well as a team member or alone, depending on the task, and is always ready and willing to assist any co-worker when needed in a pinch.  Another coworker writes that Spinks processes graduation applications promptly and adds a personal touch by sending a lovely congratulatory note to the soon-to-be ABAC alumnus as well as to their advisor.  In so doing, it keeps both the advisor and student up-to-date and informed.  One colleague says Spinks is service-oriented and “others-minded, always going above and beyond to assist ABAC students.  I believe our students, faculty, and staff would all agree that this year’s awardee has a genuine desire to make the ABAC experience positive.” ###
May 25 2021

ABAC Faculty Member Selected for Georgia Agricultural Education Hall of Fame

TIFTON—Dr. Farish Mulkey, an assistant professor of agricultural education at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, has been selected for the Georgia Agricultural Education Hall of Fame.  Mulkey joins two current ABAC faculty members, Dr. Frank Flanders and Von Peavy, in the Hall of Fame. “We are extremely proud of Dr. Mulkey and the fact that ABAC now has three active faculty members in the Hall of Fame,” Dr. Andrew Thoron, Head of the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at ABAC, said. “I think this proves without a doubt that ABAC is vested in agricultural education in Georgia.” Mulkey began his 32-year career in agricultural education as a classroom agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Macon County High School in 1988.  His career continues today at ABAC where he advises, teaches, and prepares the next crop of agricultural educators. In a career that saw him teach both middle and high school in Macon County, Worth County, Bainbridge, and Stephens County, Mulkey and his students have achieved a great deal of success. He served as advisor to 61 state degree recipients, 14 American Degree recipients, 18 state and four national Career Development Event winners, and nine state proficiency award winners. The role of an agricultural education teacher is very diverse. In addition to teaching and guiding students, agriculture teachers are expected to make an impact on their community and their profession. Just as he did as an FFA advisor, Mulkey excelled at those expectations. Mulkey served as a Young Farmer advisor, providing instruction for adults in his community, was named Teacher of the Year in his school system, participated on local Farm Bureau boards, and served on committees within the Georgia Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association. A Georgia Agricultural Education Hall of Fame spokesman said that Mulkey's very decorated and successful career was not highlighted by the many plaques, trophies, and ribbons that his students earned; rather his career is highlighted by the character that he exhibited and instilled in the young people he taught in class. ###
May 24 2021

Luke-Morgan Receives Teaching Excellence Award at ABAC

TIFTON—Dr. Audrey Luke-Morgan has been selected as the 2021 recipient of the W. Bruce and Rosalyn Ray Donaldson Award for Teaching Excellence at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. First awarded in 1965, the purpose of the prestigious award is to publicly recognize superior instruction and exemplary service to the college by honoring one faculty member each year, as chosen by a special representative committee of faculty and students. The recipient is honored with a recognition plaque and a monetary award. To be eligible for consideration for the Donaldson Teaching Excellence Award, a faculty member must be a full-time instructor with five or more years of continuous service to the college. An Associate Professor in the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Luke-Morgan has taught at ABAC since 2012. She received an associate degree from ABAC, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Georgia (UGA), a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from UGA, and a Ph.D. in Public Administration from Valdosta State University. To best meet the needs of her students, Luke-Morgan has each student complete a biography and self-assessment so that she can tailor each course to target skills such as public speaking or use of spreadsheet software. “I believe that you must move out of your comfort zone to reach your full potential to learn and grow,” Luke-Morgan said. Several letters of support reference Luke-Morgan’s passion and fire for her subject matter. Dr. Mark Kistler, Dean of the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said, “she strives to kindle each student’s curiosity for lifelong learning.” A peer recommendation states that she peaks the students’ interest in introductory classes where they often struggle with terminology with “practical and everyday examples to demonstrate use and application. She then pushes her juniors and seniors to rise to a much higher bar of performance in her classes.” A former student writes, “It is very easy to lecture about all of the things you know, but to translate that knowledge into a conversation that everyone can understand is a special gift that makes the best professors.” Luke-Morgan was the 1992 valedictorian at Fitzgerald High School. In 1994, she was selected as the top academic student at ABAC, receiving the J.G. Woodroof Scholar award with a 4.0 grade point average. ###