COLLEGE STATION – Dr. David Baltensperger, head of the Texas A&M University department of soil and crop sciences in College Station, has received the Texas A&M AgriLife Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence for administration.
The Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence recognizes the commitment and outstanding contributions of faculty and staff across Texas A&M AgriLife. The award was presented Jan. 14 at the AgriLife Center on the Texas A&M campus in College Station.
Baltensperger has been department head since 2006 and served as interim head of the ecosystem science and management department from 2012 to 2014.
During that time, he had administrative responsibilities over approximately 100 faculty on campus and within Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service across the state, according to his nomination.
Faculty members deal with a wide range of issues, including crop improvement, production, genetics, crop physiology, agronomy, water quality, water microbiology and soil mineralogy.
Baltensperger is actively involved in all aspects of the department, from research to Extension to undergraduate and graduate education, said Dr. Sam Feagley, AgriLife Extension state soil environmental specialist in College Station, in his nomination. During his tenure, the department experienced stagnant or declining budgets and the loss of senior faculty through retirements, death and resignations.
“David has been a steadying influence on the department, constantly encouraging faculty, mentoring young and new faculty members, aggressively seeking cooperative support for our research, teaching and Extension programs, and advocating for our department with administration,” Feagley said.
“We have seen excellent growth in our department under David’s leadership with the number of statewide faculty increasing, undergraduate enrollment increasing, cooperative research and Extension support increasing, and endowments to the department increasing significantly.”
Feagley continued, “David truly believes that our mission alleviates poverty and hunger around the world by training plant breeding scientists who can apply that knowledge in developing improved crop cultivars. He has strengthened our AgriLife Extension programs by advocating and soliciting partnerships with different clientele groups and industries served by our state and regional specialists and program specialists across the state and nationally.”
Baltensperger promotes and participates in workshops that almost all of the AgriLife Extension state specialists coordinate, such as the Texas Weed Information Group, Ranch Management University, Turf Field Day, Turfgrass Short Course, Surface Mine Reclamation Workshop, Watershed Management, and Soil Survey and Land Resource Workshop, as well as most research and Extension field days.
Baltensperger previously served the agricultural industry as professor at the University of Nebraska from 1989-2006, and as an assistant/associate professor of agronomy at the University of Florida from 1981-1986. He was a visiting scientist at Colorado State University in 1988.
Baltensperger is a member in a number of professional societies, including American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society, Wheat Industry Resource Council, Society of Range Management, and the American Forage and Grasslands Conference.
He has served on more than a dozen committees within Crop Science Society and the Agronomy Society. He served as president of the Crop Science Society of America in 2014, as well as president-elect and past president. For his service to the profession, he has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the prestigious Fellow recognition in the Crop Science Society and in the American Society of Agronomy.