We asked several CAHNRS Ambassadors, excellent students who love WSU and their college, to name their favorite professors. And now we’re featuring those nominated educators in this weekly series.
Today we’re showcasing John Reganold, regents professor of soil science & agroecology in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. Here are his answers to a few questions:
How did you pick this as a career?
I was interested in agriculture and the environment and learned at the University of California at Berkeley when I was getting my Bachelors degree that soil science was critical for food production and at the crest of the environmental wave. So I decided to apply to graduate school and got my M.S. in soil science at Cal followed later by a Ph.D. at UC Davis in soil science. Before coming to WSU in 1983, I worked for the Natural Resource Conservation Service mapping soils, and then as a reclamation engineer for Utah International Inc., a global mining company. I knew I wanted to teach and do research at the college level and was so fortunate to land my position at Washington State University.
What is your favorite thing about teaching college students?
I love the exchange of ideas with my students in classes. I like being challenged with questions that make me think and give the whole class important information about a topic. Often these exchanges are times when students and I both learn.
Why do you love what you do?
I think that I’m so fortunate to be able to come up with topics and ideas that I think are important to teach in my courses and to motivate student learning.
If you could provide any tips or advice for your students, or WSU students in general, what would they be?
I think the distraction possibilities for students today are many. My advice is for students to have set periods of time when they limit or avoid distractions and focus on studying the material for a particular class. This takes great concentration and a strong work ethic.
Any other words of wisdom you’d like to pass along?
Students should not be shy in going to a teacher’s office hours to talk about specific topics in the course, or simply to find out how they are doing in the course.