Agricultural economics professor receives Vanvig distinguished faculty award

picture of woman and man
Dean Barb Rasco presents Chris Bastian the Andrew Vanvig Lifetime Distinguished Faculty Award Tuesday.

An agricultural and applied economics faculty member at the University of Wyoming whose career exemplifies research, outreach, teaching and service is this year’s recipient of the Andrew Vanvig Lifetime Distinguished Faculty Award in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Chris Bastian has performed outreach, research, teaching, mentoring, service and student advising at a high level, said Dale Menkhaus, professor emeritus in the department and a previous Vanvig award recipient.

“To be able to carry out these responsibilities in a conscientious and exceptional manner, as Chris has done, is rare and characterizes a distinguished faculty member,” said Menkhaus.

Bastian began as a lecturer at the University of Wyoming in 1990, and advanced to research associate then assistant, associate and senior UW Extension educator. He returned to UW as an assistant professor in 2005 after receiving his Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from Colorado State University and attained full professor in 2017.

Vanvig served as head of the Department of Agricultural Economics for 25 years and was a faculty member for 35. He created the award in 2010 to honor a senior faculty member in the college for lifetime accomplishments in teaching, scholarship/creative activity and service. Professors in the college with a minimum of 15 years of service are eligible.

Bastian is the epitome of what a senior faculty member should be, stated his nominators.

“He has not only made a significant impact on our discipline through scholarship contributions, but he is continually recognized as an outstanding educator by students and peers and has gone above and beyond to serve our department, college, university and regional associations,” stated department head and associate professor Ben Rashford, assistant professor Chian Jones Ritten and research associate Amy Nagler.

Bastian has mentored 270 undergraduates and supervised 53 graduate degrees. He has written or co-written 79 refereed journal articles, 88 reviewed extension publications, 130 presentations and received over $3.5 million in grants.

Bastian embodies the land-grant mission of teaching, research and extension, said Chris McIntosh, professor and department head of agricultural and economics and the University of Idaho.

He cited Bastian’s service to the university and profession and serving on the executive board (Bastian is now president) of the Western Agricultural Economics Association.

“His reputation as an excellent teacher is well known throughout the agricultural economics profession,” said McIntosh. “It is also obvious when you see him present his work at professional conferences.”

Another previous Vanvig award recipient offered high praise for Bastian.

“Chris has been a pillar in our department for as long as I can remember due to his leadership and expertise in a wide variety of subject matter area,” said Tex Taylor, a professor emeritus and member of the agricultural and applied economics department and a 43-year UW employee.

“He has been a model of consistency, excelling in all aspect of the profession,” he said. “He has also been a valuable mentor to many of us in the department whose counsel is widely respected.”

Rashford said Bastian sets the example of the true all-around faculty member.

“He has excelled in the classroom, as an adviser and in mentoring graduate students,” said Rashford. “His research is nationally recognized; he has been consistently published in top journals and has generated millions in competitive funding. And he readily uses his expertise and research to help solve timely issues for stakeholders around the state and region.”

Bastian has sustained his efforts at the highest levels for decades.

“He is a model for others to emulate,” said Rashford.

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