Iowa State University Animal Science Professor Receives National USDA Teaching Award

November 12th, 2018

AMES, Iowa – Steven Lonergan, an Iowa State University animal science professor, was awarded one of two 2018 national U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Agriculture Sciences Excellence in Teaching Awards.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities presented the award to Lonergan and a second recipient on Nov. 11 in New Orleans. Joe Colletti, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences interim endowed dean, said Lonergan exemplifies excellence in student-centered teaching and has earned multiple departmental and national awards in recognition for his innovative teaching techniques.

“Dr. Lonergan brings genuine passion to his cutting-edge approach to student-centered learning,” Colletti said. “He is known for his innovative and inspiring teaching methods and always strives to help every student reach their full potential in his courses and to mentor new faculty with respect to student-centered learning.”

Lonergan is known for his high-energy teaching methods. He consistently receives high evaluation scores from students, who are aware of Lonergan’s high standards for them. Students commonly state in evaluations about how Lonergan challenges them to think critically and how he creates an environment that helps them learn.

“Dr. Lonergan is passionate about what he's teaching, which makes it easy to learn and to want to learn. He genuinely cares about each of his students and about making connections with all of us,” said Karla Kubesh, a senior in animal science. “Dr. Lonergan has earned this award because he definitely deserves it for all of his passion and hard work in the department.”

“What I enjoy about Dr. Lonergan is his passion to help students meet their full potential,” said Carl Frame, an animal science graduate student. “His dedication to learning is infectious and encourages students strive to understand meat science on a deeper level.”

Lonergan’s teaching philosophy revolves around helping students strive for excellence, keeping students motivated and creating an environment that stimulates questioning.

The motto in the Iowa State University Seal is “Science with Practice” and Lonergan says it illustrates how he combines learning and science. He said students need to go beyond facts and explore how a topic or discipline impacts the larger picture.

“In animal science, that means we explore how animal agriculture impacts global public policy and the economy,” Lonergan said. “My teaching philosophy centers on learning. My goal is to inspire students to become active, engaged, life-long learners who are actively bringing theory and practice together to make an impact on our lives.”

Lonergan worked as an assistant professor in meat science and muscle biology from 1995 to 2004 at Iowa State. He became an associate professor in 2004 and a full professor in 2008. Lonergan received his bachelor’s in animal science in 1988 and master’s degree in meat science in 1991 from Iowa State. He received his doctorate in animal science from the University of Nebraska in 1995.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has had nine other recipients who received the USDA teaching awards during the past 12 years and those include:

  • Ann Marie VanDerZanden, associate provost for academic programs and horticulture professor, who received the national excellence teaching award in 2017,
  • Curtis Youngs, animal science professor, who received a regional award in 2014,
  • Mike Retallick, agricultural and life sciences education professor, who received a new teacher award,
  • Lee Burras, agronomy professor, who received a regional award in 2011,
  • Doug Kenealy, who received a national award in 2009,
  • Dick Schultz, who received a regional award in 2008,
  • Amy Kaleita, agricultural and biosystems engineering professor, who received a new teacher award in 2007,
  • Gail Nonnecke, horticulture professor, received a national award in 2006,
  • Jim Kliebenstein, who received a regional award in 2006.

The awards program began in 1992 and recognizes outstanding college professors of agriculture, natural resources, veterinary and human sciences. The selection committee includes nationally recognized teachers and scholars who choose two national recipients, two early career awardees and six regional awardees.


Steven Lonergan, Animal Science, 515-294-9126,

Barb McBreen, Agricultural and Life Sciences Communications Service, 515-294-0707,