Two K-State faculty receive $5,000 Iman Awards for research and teaching

Posted September 23, 2016

Two Kansas State University faculty members in agronomy and clinical sciences, will each receive $5,000 awards in recognition of their outstanding research and teaching during a 4 p.m. ceremony Sept. 26 at the K-State Alumni Center.

Introduced in 2007, the annual Dr. Ron and Rae Iman Outstanding Faculty Awards are sponsored by the K-State Alumni Association and are made possible through the generosity of Ron and Rae Iman.

Dr. P.V. Vara Prasad, university distinguished professor of crop ecophysiology and director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification, will receive the Iman Outstanding Faculty Award for Research. The recipient of the Iman Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching is Dr. Robert L. Larson, professor and Edgar E. and M. Elisabeth Coleman Chair of Food Animal/Production Medicine and executive director of Veterinary Medical Continuing Education.

Prasad’s award recognizes faculty members who have distinguished themselves in their chosen profession and who have contributed significantly through research to improve the betterment of the educational experience, or whose research has had a significant impact on their area of study.

Prasad is an internationally recognized researcher in the field of agronomy and crop science.

His nominator, Dr. John Floros, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension, said, “He has made, and continues to make, outstanding contributions in all areas of K-State’s land-grant mission. He is one of the most productive and accomplished faculty members in the College of Agriculture.”

Prasad’s research mainly focuses on understanding responses of food grains crop to changing environments (temperature, water and climate change factors) and developing crop management strategies for efficient use of inputs. He has published more than 140 peer reviewed articles in high impact journals and book chapters for top book publishers. His research has been supported by more than $62 million in grants from highly competitive programs from national, international and industry organizations.

Prasad’s numerous awards and honors include the 2006 Association of Agricultural Scientists of Indian Origin Young Scientist Award, the 2009 K-State Gamma Sigma Delta Early Career Award, the 2012 K-State Gamma Sigma Delta Outstanding Research Award, the 2013 Association of Agricultural Scientists of Indian Origin Outstanding Agricultural Scientist Award, the 2013 K-State International Educator Award, a 2014 fellowship in the American Society of Agronomy, the 2015 K-State Graduate Teaching Award, and the 2015 Commerce Bank Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award.

Larson’s award honors a full-time K-State faculty member for excellence in high-quality instruction, strong relationships with students inside and outside the classroom and a reputation for scholarship and distinguished service to the university.

His nominator, Dr. Bonnie Rush, executive associate dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and head of K-State’s Department of Clinical Sciences, said, “Dr. Larson’s philosophy of teaching is to equip future veterinarians and advanced trainees with problem-solving skills that will support their careers regardless of their specific path. … He has an excellent working knowledge of educational strategies that facilitate problem-solving skills and clearly outlines for students the importance of life-long learning.”

For nearly a decade, he has served as the executive director of Continuing Education for the College of Veterinary Medicine. He served two terms on the K-State Graduate Council and has served as chair of the Student Affairs Committee. From 2008 to 2009 he served as the interim director of the Master of Public Health program and currently advises more MPH students than any other faculty member.

Larson led local, national and international efforts to communicate the concepts of evidence-based medical decisions and was a charter member and first president of the Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine Association. In 2007, he was named a Food Systems Leadership Institute Fellow.

“The accomplishments of Dr. Prasad and Dr. Larson have raised K-State’s reputation worldwide and enhanced the educational experience of our students,” said Amy Button Renz, president and CEO of the K-State Alumni Association. “These professors earned these honors through hard work and dedication to the pursuit of knowledge. We are also deeply appreciative to Ron and Rae Iman for their generous commitment to make these awards possible.”

The Imans live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ron and Rae are life members of the K-State Alumni Association and serve as Kansas State University Foundation trustees. Ron Iman earned three degrees from K-State: a bachelor’s degree in math education in 1962, a master’s degree in 1970 and a doctorate in statistics in 1973. He is a past member of the Association’s board of directors, served as the Association’s representative to the KSU Research Foundation board and is a past chair of the Arts and Sciences Advisory Council. He received the university’s Arts and Sciences Distinguished Service Award in 1996 and, in 1994, served as national president of the American Statistical Association. Ron Iman was named a Highly Cited Researcher by the Institute for Scientific Information in 2004.