Honoring Excellence: Celebrating AREC's Award-Winning Faculty

Showcasing the remarkable contributions of Dr. Anna Alberini, Dr. James MacDonald, and Paul Goeringer to their fields, students, and community.

May 9, 2024

The University of Maryland’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (AREC) has a rich history of contributing to both academic excellence and practical innovations. This year, we are proud to celebrate the outstanding achievements of three faculty members, each recognized for their remarkable contributions in distinct arenas.

AGNR College Cornerstone Awards

Two of our faculty members, Dr. Anna Alberini and Professor James MacDonald, have been honored with the Agriculture and Natural Resources College Cornerstone Awards. These prestigious awards recognize faculty or staff members, or external partners who actively promote awareness of one of the Strategic Initiatives, demonstrate innovation, and provide a model for others in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Dr. Alberini and Professor MacDonald's awards underscore their pioneering work and their roles as leaders in agricultural and resource economics.

Dr. Anna Alberini: Championing Learning and Empowering Personal Growth

Dr. Anna Alberini, has been recognized for the prestigious Paul R. Poffenberger Excellence in Teaching and Advising Award for her exceptional contributions to teaching and advising. With an impressive 28-year tenure at UMD, Dr. Alberini has made significant strides in both undergraduate and graduate education.

Her approach to teaching is marked by a profound commitment to student engagement and success. Dr. Alberini has developed several impactful courses, including a pioneering computer-based class in 2004, which remains a model for similar courses nationwide two decades later. Her course on climate change provides students with a comprehensive understanding of one of today's most pressing issues, emphasizing the intersection of economics and physical science.

Dr. Alberini is known for breaking down complex econometric methods into manageable steps, ensuring that her students not only learn but truly understand the material. Anna notes, "I try to do this in the simplest possible way, like step by step, equation by equation, so that [students] know, if they find this result, that's how you get to it. You sit down and try until you get to that particular result." Her dedication extends beyond the classroom, as she continues to mentor and collaborate with her students long after graduation, creating a lasting impact on their careers: "I follow all of the work all the way, meeting with them regularly, and once they graduate and they find jobs, I keep in touch with them. I have a lot of projects that I'm doing right now with former students and it's wonderful."

Dr. James MacDonald: Advancing Agricultural Economics Research

Research Professor Dr. James MacDonald has been honored with a Cornerstone Award for his significant role in securing over $600,000 in funding for the college, notably contributing to a groundbreaking $5 million project awarded by the National Science Foundation. This project, known as NourishNet, aims to tackle food insecurity and waste through innovative technology, including Quantum Nose, a food quality sensor, and FoodLoops, a real-time surplus food distribution app. 

These initiatives are part of a larger effort to enhance the U.S. food system's efficiency and reach, ensuring healthy, safe, and sustainable food access across the country. Dr. MacDonald’s leadership in securing and guiding such significant funding initiatives underscores the critical role of academic research in addressing global challenges. Learn more about this project and achievement here

Paul Goeringer: Recognized for University-wide Excellence

Paul Goeringer, a Senior Faculty Specialist in the AREC Department, has been honored with the prestigious Provost’s Excellence Award for Professional Track Faculty. This accolade celebrates his exceptional service and outstanding contributions to the University of Maryland community.

University of Maryland’s Senior Vice President and Provost, Dr. Jennifer King Rice, highlighted his significant role in creating and leading the Agricultural Law Education Initiative (ALEI), which has been instrumental in helping farmers make informed decisions regarding investments, practices, and risk management. This initiative exemplifies his dedication to fostering valuable connections within and beyond the university community.

Dr. Rice also commended Goeringer's dedication to addressing issues that impact Professional Track (PTK) faculty and his service on the Senate Plan of Organization Review Committee. These contributions underscore his commitment not only to advancing and developing agricultural practices but also to enhancing the university's operational effectiveness and governance.

Reflecting on his recognition, Paul shares, "Achieving something like this takes a lot of effort and commitment. A lot of it is not caring if you get the award in the end and just doing the work. It’s also been about surrounding myself with really good support people to help me do the research and do a lot of the work that is required to be able to do all of the other stuff that I end up doing." He extends heartfelt thanks to his colleagues and support staff, including Ashley Ellixson, Kelly Nuckolls, Mayhah Suri, Rachel Rosenberg Goldstein, Elizabeth Thilmany, Christin Redding, Ryan Zimmerman, Kimberly Johnson, and Marta Manzano, Olivia Kurkyndall, Meredith House, Meghana Kotraiah, Serena Newton and all the staff in the AREC business office. He also appreciates the guidance of Lori Lynch, Bob Chambers, Lars Olson, Jim Hanson, Darren Jarboe, Dan Kugler, and Deans Dr. Wei and Dean Beyrouty for their continued support and collaboration.

This award not only honors Paul Goeringer's individual achievements but also reflects his influence on the university’s mission of creating a vibrant community of scholars dedicated to knowledge, innovation, and service.

Looking Forward

These awards reflect the high caliber of our faculty and their profound impact on students, the academic community, and the broader public. As we celebrate these achievements, we are inspired by their dedication and look forward to continuing our tradition of excellence in research, teaching, and service at AREC.