The Board established the Regents Professor Awards program in 1996 and the Regents Fellow Service Awards program in 1998 to recognize employees who have made extraordinary contributions to their university or agency, as well as to the people of Texas.
Regents Professor Award recipients
— Kim Dooley, Ph.D., Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences associate dean for faculty affairs and professor in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications. Dooley, a longtime educator and former administrator, was appointed associate dean for faculty affairs on Sept. 1. She previously served as associate dean for academic operations in agriculture and life sciences. Dooley has been recognized as a Food Systems Leadership Institute Fellow by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and received a distinguished teaching award from the Association of Former Students at Texas A&M. She is also a Montague Scholar-Center for Teaching Excellence at Texas A&M and a U.S. Department of Agriculture Excellence in Teaching honoree. Dooley’s research focuses on experiential and service learning, use of technology for teaching and learning, community engagement, resiliency and impact learning. Her research accolades include the Distinguished Research Award and the Outstanding International Agricultural Education Award from the American Association for Agricultural Education, and the Outstanding Service Award from the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education.
— Thomas Welsh Jr., Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow and professor of physiology of reproduction in the Department of Animal Science and the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences. He has developed, coordinated and taught undergraduate and graduate physiology courses concerned with identifying and manipulating biological mechanisms controlling reproduction, growth, immunocompetence and stress, especially in domestic livestock. He continually applies instructional strategies that encompass coverage of fundamental information as well as enrichment of students’ learning skills, often by high-impact, hands-on experiential activities. Welsh also guest lectures in the Careers in Animal Agriculture and Reproductive Management classes. He helps conduct mock vet school interviews for Texas A&M and Prairie View A&M University students, and for over 25 years he has served on the School of Veterinary Medicine’s committee to interview each year’s applicants. Through these venues, Welsh is in contact with numerous students and provides mentoring as they develop interests in graduate education and/or professional careers.
Regents Fellow Award recipients
— Juan Anciso, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service vegetable specialist in Weslaco and professor in the Department of Horticultural Sciences. Anciso has served AgriLife Extension for 34 years — as an integrated pest management agent for 13 years and as a professor and vegetable specialist for the past 21 years. Anciso’s contributions to the vegetable industry in South Texas and across the state and nation are immeasurable, especially to growers and industry leaders such as H-E-B. While he is a part of $8 million in grants to support applied research and education, his legacy will be a grateful industry that has benefited from his hard work and commitment to the industry when they were in need, whether it be through plant disease or food safety issues at the produce shed or in enhancing sustainability and methods on the retail side of the vegetable business.
— Kathy Farrow, AgriLife Extension family and community health agent in San Patricio County. For more than 40 years, Farrow has provided leadership for a variety of AgriLife Extension programs and other educational outreach efforts in service to the residents of San Patricio County. One of her main contributions has been the implementation of the agency’s Healthy South Texas initiative, which includes several health and wellness programs such as Walk Across Texas, Cooking Well with Diabetes and the Step-Up Scale Down healthy weight management program. She also facilitates Dinner Tonight! Healthy Cooking Schools, diabetes conferences, child car seat safety check-up events, community garden programs, parenting conferences and Friend-to-Friend “pink event” luncheons for breast and cervical cancer awareness. Farrow received the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Hall of Fame award and induction in 2022.
— Martin Ficken, DVM, Ph.D., Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory resident director at the Sam and Sally Glass Poultry Diagnostic Laboratory in Gonzales. Ficken joined TVMDL in 2009 as a pathologist at the College Station laboratory. For two years, he assisted the laboratory with necropsy and pathology services for a wide range of animals. However, he quickly became a trusted subject matter expert for avian species. In 2011, Dr. Ficken assumed the role of interim resident director for TVMDL’s Sam and Sally Glass Poultry Diagnostic Laboratory in Gonzales. In 2012, his role was made official, and he began his tenure as the lab’s resident director. Ficken leads a four-person staff at TVMDL’s Gonzales laboratory. This small team is directly responsible for over one-third of TVMDL’s poultry testing. The agency’s poultry client roster includes multiple state and national producers in addition to backyard bird owners. As a board-certified poultry pathologist and veterinarian, Ficken is accustomed to working with all types of clients and providing them with the same level of exceptional service. In addition to his commitment to diagnostics, Ficken also dedicates time to education. He is TVMDL’s most frequently requested speaker for poultry topics and regularly contributes to seminars and other educational opportunities at Texas A&M University.
— Jaehak Jeong, Ph.D., AgriLife Research civil engineer at Temple. Jeong’s research program develops and uses novel computational methods to help major federal and state agencies, cities and other organizations estimate and reduce the effects of their activities and programs on soil and water quality. He serves as the lead model developer of the watershed and crop systems simulation models offered by Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Temple, including the Environmental Policy Integrated Climate, EPIC, model and the Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender, APEX, model. APEX is the key simulation model used by USDA’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project to assess the effects of government programs and farmer initiatives on the nation’s croplands. Over the last three years, Jeong has been the leading faculty member in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering in terms of grant dollars received and the number of peer-reviewed papers published. In 2022, he ranked in the top 2% of all AgriLife Research faculty and scientists in extramural grants activity. Jeong’s research program is focused on developing and implementing novel computational methods to estimate the impacts of agricultural practices on soil and water quality. This focus leads to real-world, practical improvements in agricultural management.
— Bruce Woods, Texas A&M Forest Service mitigation and prevention department head. Woods started his career with the Texas A&M Forest Service in December 2003 as the chief fire training coordinator, where he managed agency wildland firefighting academies and provided training in NIMS/ICS and Type 3 incident management teams. Woods’ work in the development of strategic mitigation practices and progressive fire prevention campaigns have helped make Texas A&M Forest Service one of the leading state agencies in this field. When creating programs and solutions, he can identify common purposes, values and rules of engagement while helping to eliminate the barriers and redundancies that sometimes come with government operations. Woods has been instrumental in finding solutions and bringing together the right people, partners and organizational components needed to develop and implement programs that address challenges. He has built a strong team in the Mitigation and Prevention Department that employs some of the agencies’ most knowledgeable and skilled personnel.
Becoming a honoree
The selection process for the awards begins with a call for nominations from the chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. Final nominations are put forth to the chief executive officer of each respective entity. They are then subject to a system-level review consisting of academic vice chancellors and past recipients of the awards. Finally, nominations are forwarded to the chancellor and the board for final approval.
To date, 306 Texas A&M system faculty members have been recognized with the Regents Professor Award and 188 agency professionals have received the Regents Fellow Service Award.
A complete list of the 2022-2023 Regents Professors and Regents Fellows can be found at https://news.tamus.edu/texas-am-regents-approve-14-regents-professors-13-regents-fellows/.