Ag professor earns national outstanding teacher

June 23, 2003

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PLATTEVILLE-A University of Wisconsin-Platteville School of Agriculture faculty member recently earned the Outstanding Teacher Award from the American Association of State Colleges of Agriculture and Renewable Resources (AASCARR).

Michael Compton, associate professor of horticulture and plant biotechnology, will be presented with the award in late June at the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture at the organization's 49th annual conference in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

He is the first person from UWP to ever receive such an award.

UWP Dean of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture Duane Ford had high praise for Compton and his achievement. "This is the first time anyone at this University has received this award. Mike's joining a very elite and capable group of people at AASCARR."

Compton will receive a $1,000 stipend and plaque for his inspirational teaching style and outstanding teaching skills. "He's a wonderful teacher and I wish him continued success," added Ford.

An active extramural funding advocate, Compton has received more than $219,000 in awards.

UWP Provost and Vice Chancellor Carol Sue Butts congratulated Compton on his award. "His excellent teaching skills and ability to inspire enthusiasm for learning have made Mike an asset to the University community," said Butts. "In addition, his outstanding care and concern for students is exemplary. Receiving the national award is a great honor."

Compton, who has taught at UWP for eight years, has a lengthy and venerable teaching record. He earned his Ph.D. at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

A central Illinois native, Compton became interested in horticulture at an early age and became involved in teaching and research while attending Southern Illinois University. His postdoctoral research, developing tissue culture and genetic transformation protocols for watermelon and muskmelon, was conducted at the Central Florida Research and Education Center, which is part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida.

Compton said he feels honored and surprised by the award. "I love teaching and try to incorporate as much technology in the classroom as possible." Compton teaches eight classes at UWP, including introduction to horticulture, greenhouse operation and management, plant physiology and landscape horticulture.

Compton's commitment to education extends beyond the classroom. He serves as adviser for the Horticulture Club and flower judging team and supervisor of the greenhouse and horticulture garden.

In addition to advising about 60 undergraduate students, Compton oversees an active plant tissue culture and orchid breeding research program that involves undergraduate students.

He is a member of the American Society of Horticultural Science, the Society for In Vitro Biology, International Society for Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology, North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, Alpha Zeta, Phi Alpha Xi and Sigma Xi Research Society.

Compton has published numerous journal articles, book chapters and abstracts. He has reviewed more than 125 manuscripts and is a member of the editorial board for two scientific journals and serves as associate editor of the Plant Tissue Culture and Propagation section of "HortScience."

Compton and his wife, Peggy, have two sons, Adam and Jonathan.

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