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Harnessing the Power of Education: A Conversation with Joy Morgan

Joy Morgan is an assistant professor in the Agricultural and Human Sciences Department, and director of the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission Agricultural Leadership Development Program. We chatted with her about her career journey, current projects, and passion for excellence in agricultural education.

Dr. Joy Morgan

What did you do before becoming a member of the Wolfpack? What led you to join the Agricultural and Human Sciences Department faculty?

Prior to NC State University, I was a middle and high school agriculture teacher in Creedmoor, North Carolina. I enjoyed teaching classes focused on Animal Science, Horticulture, Equine Science, Biotechnology, and Advanced Agricultural Issues. In addition to teaching, I also served as the FFA advisor and provided leadership development to my students enrolled in the program. 

As a first-generation college student, I experienced the tremendous impact that NC State faculty played in my life. They pushed me to exceed my own expectations and dream beyond what I thought possible. I am happy to have the opportunity to work with students who enter into our undergraduate and graduate programs, hopefully creating small impacts along the way just as the NC State faculty did for me. Currently within our graduate program, I teach AEE 735, Effective Teaching in Agriculture and Life Sciences, where I engage with students from various graduate programs across CALS. Many of these students are teaching assistants and it gives me great joy to promote teaching at the university level with students who have a passion for teaching and learning!

Tell us about your research and areas of expertise. 

I enjoy researching the following topics: inclusive learning environments to support teaching diverse learners, rural student success on a land-grant campus, and instructional strategies that promote 21st century skills. As a former teacher, I strongly believe that all students should have the opportunity to enroll and actively participate in agricultural education programs. As teachers, we should strive to develop lesson plans and utilize instructional strategies that provide opportunities for success and prepare confident leaders. Furthermore, research related to the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission Agricultural Leadership Development Program is incredibly important to me as I seek to continuously meet the needs of NC agriculture as well as the current program participants and alumni.

Dr. Morgan presenting at the 2022 AAAE Conference

What projects, programs, and initiatives are you working on right now?

The 2020-2022 cohort of the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission Agricultural Leadership Development Program will graduate in March 2023. This two year program seeks to further develop personal, professional, and civic leadership skills among early and mid-career agriculturalists. Our current cohort is made up of 50% farmers as well as Extension agents and individuals from varying North Carolina agriculture industries and organizations. We anticipate accepting applications for the next cohort in the summer of 2023. 

The Rurally Engaged Agricultural Leaders Program is a program for CALS students who are from rural areas and have an interest in agriculture, rural communities, leadership, and Extension. The program meets twice a month and provides participants the opportunity to engage with agricultural leaders and address issues impacting rural communities. In addition, participants are partnered with an Extension specialist, agent, or faculty to complete a 20 hour experience. Several of the Extension experiences led to summer internships and two individuals secured internships through following up with guest speakers. 

What advice do you have for students interested in a career in agricultural and extension education?

Within the field of AEE, there are a vast number of career opportunities. From teaching to Extension to industry, we need innovative thinkers and educators who will help lead agriculture. As the world population is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, careers related to agriculture will play a key role in meeting the demands and overcoming challenges.

Drs. Wendy Warner and Joy Morgan presenting at the 2022 AAAE Conference

How has CALS and the agricultural and extension education graduate program impacted you?

It’s exciting to wake up in the morning knowing that I will work with an amazing group of students and faculty. Our students inspire me daily and it’s through those interactions and teaching that I received the USDA Early Career Teacher Award. I cherish this award because it highlights my teaching efforts and those efforts that support student success on campus. It’s my students who fuel my love for teaching and my colleagues who provide support, mentorship, and friendship. 

Courses Taught:

  • AEE 103: Fundamentals of Agricultural and Extension Education
  • AEE 326: Teaching Diverse Learners in Agricultural Education
  • AEE 427: Supervision of Student Teachers
  • AEE 435: Professional Presentations in Agricultural Organizations
  • AEHS 735: Effective Teaching in Agriculture and Life Sciences

Find three of Morgan’s recent publications below: