The summer of 2018 was an exciting one for Lucas Maxwell, a professor in the Department of Agriculture at Illinois State. Maxwell won a national award recognizing outstanding young professors at Non-land-grant Agriculture and Renewable Resources Universities (NARRU). Maxwell received the 2018 NARRU Distinguished Young Educator Award, which only accepts one winner each year. Nominees for this award are accepted from any NARRU institution and to be eligible the nominee must have seven years or less of teaching in higher education.

Maxwell received this award due to his ability to teach a diverse set of topics in agriculture, his high level of commitment to his students, and his demonstrated excellence in service and research. Maxwell’s passion lies with agriculture and that is evident whenever you talk with him. He has always worked closely with agriculture education starting as a high school agriculture teacher and Future Farmers of America (FFA) advisor at Iroquois West high school. Maxwell has experience working with recruitment and retention, as well as advising several registered student organizations in his time as a professor at Arkansas Tech University, and now at Illinois State University.

Lucas Maxwell accepting the NARRU Distinguished Young Educator Award

Students and fellow faculty members at Illinois State have nothing but tremendous things to say about working with Maxwell in the classroom and other professional settings.

“I have enjoyed watching him engage students in the classroom, challenging them, guiding them, and constantly encouraging them to think about the whys of what we do,” said Richard Steffen, agricultural education professor.

“Dr. Maxwell leaves his students with the words ‘get real work done.’ He does just that; he leads by example,” agricultural teacher education student Marissa Hartke said. “As a student, I am excited to see where Dr. Maxwell will take us at Illinois State University because I know that with his passion and dedication, great progress will be accomplished.”

The Department of Agriculture at Illinois State University is excited Maxwell was chosen for the NARRU Distinguished Young Educator Award! The department is lucky to have him and the rest of our faculty who work tirelessly to provide the best for our students.

NAARU account for 45 percent of baccalaureate degrees awarded in agriculture, food and renewable resources each year. NARRU institutions place emphasis on their curricula on business, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, creativity, communications, and teamwork. These institutions develop a highly skilled workforce for the agriculture, food, and natural resource industries. They offer students real world, hand-on experiences in laboratories, undergraduate research, independent studies, and internships on campus farms and in the industry.