New CASNR Department Chairman Named

A nationally recognized expert in agricultural education and strong proponent of distance education has been selected to lead Texas Tech University’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communications as its new chairman, officials with the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources announced Tuesday (July 29).

Written by Cory Chandler

A nationally recognized expert in agricultural education and strong proponent of distance education has been selected to lead Texas Tech University’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communications as its new chairman, officials with the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources announced Tuesday (July 29).

Steve Fraze, a longtime professor in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications and currently the college’s student services director, will assume his new duties Sept. 1. In this new position, he will have responsibility for programs affecting 215 undergraduate students, 70 graduate students and 10 faculty members.

“Steve Fraze is an outstanding educator and innovative thinker in both scientific and personal terms,” said John Burns, dean of Texas Tech’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. “He also has been a tremendous advocate for his students during his outstanding tenure here at Texas Tech.”

The department supervises several degree programs, including a bachelor of science in interdisciplinary agriculture (teaching or leadership options), bachelor of science in agricultural communications, master of science in agricultural education, and a doctor of education in agricultural education. In addition, it participates in the interdepartmental program leading to the master of agriculture degree with an option in agricultural communications or agricultural extension education.

Fraze also will oversee continued progress of several distance education programs, including an innovative distance education program, informally known as “Doc @Distance.” The program was developed in an effort to take the university to a specific group of mid-career professionals working in agriculture.

“I feel greatly honored to have been selected, and I’m grateful for this opportunity to serve,” Fraze said.

Fraze, who now serves at the department’s interim chair, was named a full professor in 2004. He joined the Texas Tech faculty in 1988 as a visiting assistant professor. Fraze previously worked as a visiting instructor in Texas A&M University’s Department of Agricultural Education, and a vocational agriculture teacher in New Home and Olton. He also served as a district engineer in the Dowell Division of Dow Chemical in Monahans.

Awards for Fraze include Gamma Sigma Delta Service to Agriculture Award (2005), election to the Texas Tech Teaching Academy (2003), Texas FFA Association Distinguished Service Award (2002), Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas Distinguished Service Award (2000), and Texas Tech President’s Distinguished Teaching Award (1998).

A native of Dora, NM, Fraze earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Lubbock Christian College and a master’s degree along with a teaching certificate from Texas Tech. He received his doctorate from Texas A&M University.

Fraze replaces former agricultural education and communications chairman Matt Baker, who on Aug. 1 will step into his new post as the founding dean for the planned Texas Tech College of Outreach and Distance Education.

CONTACT: Steve Fraze, chairman, Department of Agricultural Education and Communications, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2816 or steven.fraze@ttu.edu.