North Carolina A&T State University's 2010 nominee for the University of North Carolina, Board of Governors' Award for Excellence in Teaching is Dr. Antoine J., Alston, Professor of Agricultural Education in the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.
Dr. Antoine J. Alston received his baccalaureate and masters degrees in Agricultural Education from North Carolina A&T State University and his doctorate in Agricultural Education from Iowa State University. He joined the North Carolina A&T State University faculty in 2000.
Dr. Alston is recognized by his colleagues and students for his ability to prepare 21st century-ready, globally minded leaders. His student-centered philosophy of teaching combines practical inquiry with research-based methods to solve real-world problems that impact the lives of others. Students are emphatic in their praise for Dr. Alston's mentoring, teaching, and leadership skills. One student stated that Dr. Alston's unwavering dedication to academic excellence produces "world-class students who can compete anywhere in the global marketplace," while other students noted that his constant commitment to their personal success had "a profound influence" on their education and careers. To develop his students' critical thinking and problem-solving skills and the professional dispositions required for success within the agricultural education profession, Dr. Alston embeds a variety of active-learning pedagogies in his courses, including the use of case studies, field experiences, and instructional technology.
Dr. Alston is recognized nationally as an educational innovator, leading the development of North Carolina A&T's successful 2+2: Online Studies in Agricultural Education program that has significantly expanded access to agricultural education programs and has been featured in Black Issues in Higher Education. This program allows individuals from NC State University's Agricultural Institute and eleven North Carolina community colleges that offer Associate of Applied Science degrees in agriculture-related areas to transfer into the baccalaureate program in Agricultural Education at North Carolina A&T State University. As a colleague notes, "Dr. Alston is truly a model of excellence in the food and agricultural sciences, providing cutting edge leadership for agricultural education programs at the local, regional, and national level."
Dr. Alston is also known for his commitment to expanding diversity in the agriculture industry, serving as a mentor to both undergraduate and graduate students and guiding their development as future agriculture leaders. As a passionate advocate for both excellence and inclusion in agricultural education, he regularly publishes scholarly work in this area and is sought after as an enthusiastic and motivational speaker at regional and national conferences. In addition, Dr. Alston has sponsored various teacher in-service workshops for secondary agricultural education teachers in the areas of biotechnology, agricultural mechanics, and inclusive teaching practices.
Dr. Alston's practical problem-solving focus, technical and disciplinary expertise, and commitment to student success make him an exemplary role model for faculty members not only at North Carolina A&T State University, but also across the country. In the words of a fellow colleague, "Dr. Alston epitomizes the essential characteristics and traits of an effective teacher. Dr. Alston is a professional who listens to his students and plans instruction based on their needs and prior knowledge while encouraging, challenging, and supporting them to ensure they learn all that they can."