The Range Science Education Council (RSEC) and the Society for Range Management (SRM) proudly present the 2017 Early Career Teaching Award to Dr. Craig Carr, Assistant Professor of Rangeland Ecology in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences at Montana State University. The Early Career Teaching Award recognizes individuals in the early stages of their career who demonstrate excellence in teaching, advising, and mentoring undergraduate students.

Dr. Morris has revised and teaches 5 very diverse courses since joining Oregon State University in 2013. She has also arranged a wide array of independent study courses for students that fulfill academic requirements and/or provide opportunities to explore topics that students have been inspired to pursue.

Dr. Morris uses a variety of creative, participatory methods for not only imparting knowledge, but also engaging students in active and fun learning experiences. Her undergraduate evaluations are, as a result, exceptional. Dr. Morris has actively sought opportunities for students to participate in learning experiences outside of the classroom. In addition to field trips in her courses, she has engaged 6 students in undergraduate research projects since arriving at Oregon State University, with a 7th to start in 2018. She has worked with them to secure grants for their work; most have presented their results at previous SRM meetings and three have resulted in publications. Dr. Morris is also the Advisor to the EOANRP Range Club, guiding members in fundraising, coaching the teams, and encouraging them to actively participate at SRM meetings.

Dr. Morris “enjoys the respect of her students”, who see her as not only a great teacher, but also as a “mentor” and “great role model”. They love her “zaniness” and “kindness” and her ability to share her “passion for rangelands with her students”. Dr. Morris plants seeds that grow into a “passion for being a steward of the land”. According to one student, she “breaks through ignorance leaving enlightenment in her trail.” As one administrator put it, “Even our most curmudgeonly students fall under her spell!”

By incorporating innovative and relevant hands-on activities into Dr. Morris’ classroom and field experiences, students are constantly engaged in learning. By pushing each student to excel, she prepares them for a lifelong career managing our rangeland resources. For these and many more reasons it is clear that Dr. Morris is a valued teacher, mentor, and leader, deserving of this award.

Thus, for her outstanding contributions in the classroom and beyond, the Range Science Education Council and Society for Range Management are proud to recognize Dr. Lesley R. Morris with the 2018 Early Career Teaching Award.