Texas Tech University

Burris Named Chairman of CASNR Department of Agricultural Education & Communications

Norman Martin

January 21, 2020


A highly distinguished researcher and educator, Scott Burris has been a faculty member in the college since 2005.

Scott Burris, a highly recognized agricultural educator, was named the chairman of the Department of Agricultural Education & Communications inside the Texas Tech University College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources (CASNR), officials announced earlier this month.

CASNR dean William Brown noted that Burris has a strong vision for leading the multiple components of the department's work and will be a leader in serving and communicating with the department's clientele groups.

"With strong success in his personal program and service responsibilities, along with his facilitative and mentoring personality, Scott is ideally suited for assuming the roles and responsibilities of department chair," Brown said.

Burris said he looks forward to the new role.

"The Department of Agricultural Education & Communications at Texas Tech is one of the top departments in the country," Burris said. "It's an honor to be able to serve the outstanding faculty, students and alumni of this department, and I am excited to contribute in this new role."

Burris, who previously served as associate department chair, also was interim chairman of the award-winning academic unit from 2016 to 2018.

He replaces Steve Fraze, who retired in early January and served as chairman of the department since 2008.

The Department of Agricultural Education & Communications offers several degree programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education (teaching or leadership options); Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Communications; Master of Science in Agricultural Education (on-campus and distance delivery); Master of Science in Agricultural Communications (on-campus and distance delivery); Doctor of Education in Agricultural Education (distance delivery); and Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural Communications and Education (on-campus delivery).

The department, which has 14 faculty members and more than 350 students, is active in breaking new academic ground. It launched an agricultural communications master's level graduate program aimed at distance-learning students, as well as an online degree track providing cutting-edge development of professional communications skills for related careers in agribusiness, government service, education and extension from one of the nation's best agricultural communications programs.

In 2014, the department's agricultural communications undergraduate program was ranked as the best in the nation, according to a University of Arkansas study. Forty programs across the country were identified in the study, titled: "Characteristics of U.S. Agricultural Communications Undergraduate Program."

Burris, a specialist in agricultural education, joined the Texas Tech faculty in 2005. In addition to his teaching and research activities, he previously served as the department's student teacher coordinator and adviser for the Texas Tech chapter of Collegiate FFA. He earned a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary agriculture from Texas Tech and master's and doctoral degrees in agricultural education from the University of Missouri.

Recent honors for Burris include the Chancellor's Council Distinguished Teaching Award (2016); Texas Tech Office of the Provost-Integrated Scholar (2015); CASNR Student Advising Award (2015); Professing Excellence Award (2013); CASNR Teaching Award (2013); Spencer A. Wells Faculty Award for Creativity in Teaching (2012) and President's Excellence in Teaching Award (2010). In addition, Burris has been active in service roles, including working as an associate chairman for Texas Tech's Institutional Review Board committee and serving as a member of the Texas FFA Board of Directors.