Idaho's Devadoss Honored with Top Regional Teaching Award
Written by Bill Loftus
MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho agricultural economist Stephen Devadoss spends a considerable amount of time helping his students. His students respond with notable work and give him high marks for his efforts in the classroom.
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities honored Devadoss with its West Regional Teaching Award while meeting in Dallas in November.
Devadoss is the third faculty member in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences to win the award since 1997. Amin Ahmadzadeh, associate professor of dairy science, won in 2007.
His devotion to teaching and advising students, and his research, won Devadoss widespread recognition within the university. In 2009, he received the University of Idaho Teaching Excellence Award, following similar awards in 2008 given by the college and its Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology.
In both years, his students won University of Idaho Alumni Association Awards for Excellence and they in turn named Devadoss as their outstanding mentor.
Devadoss, a faculty member of Idaho's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences since 1992, encourages his students, particularly his graduate students, to bring their education to bear on real-world problems.
One of those problems, the implications of U.S. immigration policies on U.S. agriculture and its workforce, occupied Devadoss' student Jeff Luckstead. Now a doctoral student at neighboring Washington State University, Luckstead earned his master's degree in 2008 from the University of Idaho.
The study won widespread recognition, including honors as the Western Agricultural Economics Association outstanding master's thesis award and Agricultural and Applied Economics Association honorable mention.
"The bottom line reason immigrants come here is they can make more money. That is why they're willing to leave their homes and their families," Luckstead said.
"The real issue we were interested in is not how do we keep them out," Luckstead said. "We're more interested in, if they want to work here, how can we make regulations to make it more legal, and less under the table."
Tim Nadreau, a current graduate student of Devadoss, is analyzing the interaction of state support for higher education, tuition costs and educational quality, and the effects on the state's economy."Tim’s study not only looks at the big picture, but also attempts to get definite answers," Devadoss said.
"The most important goal I set for myself and for my students is that all students excel in their studies because the primary reason they came to the university is to get a good education," Devadoss said.
Both Luckstead and Nadreau, like most of his nearly 50 graduate students past and present, remind him of his motivation for teaching, Devadoss said.
"After three or four years they leave here, they are flying high, and you know you've got the job done," Devadoss said.
“It is great to have Stephen recognized for his teaching,” said John Foltz, associate dean for academic programs for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
“I know that students appreciate his efforts both inside and outside of the classroom, because they tell me about it. His work on behalf of our students is certainly valued,” said Foltz, who nominated Devadoss for the award.