PULLMAN, Wash. — Kenneth L. Casavant, a Washington State University faculty member and researcher in its College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, will present the 2004 Distinguished Faculty Address at 7 p.m. April 7 in the Samuel H. Smith Center for Undergraduate Education, Room 203.
Casavant is known nationally as one of the leading transportation economists in the country. He was chosen a keynote speaker at the last three (1994, 1999 and 2001) national agricultural transportation summits hosted by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His research productivity has drawn millions of dollars in grants and contracts from a number of agencies, including the USDOT, USDA, the Department of Commerce and the National Science Foundation.
He has published more than 100 articles and given some 300 presentations, many internationally. As a speaker, he is sought after locally and internationally. His research has guided legislation and policy within Washington state and the nation, leading to his being asked to serve on transportation and policy commissions for the USDA, NSF, the governor’s office and the Pacific Northwest Power Planning Council. Casavant’s national prominence has led to a number of discipline-based consultancies and testimonies with the Burlington Northern Railroad, OICD (Office of International Cooperation and Development)-USDA, Washington attorney general, Interstate Commerce Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Research Council and other task forces and committees.
Casavant has a reputation for being an outstanding teacher. He grew the introductory agricultural economics course from 18 attendees to the peak enrollment of nearly 200 students per semester. His reputation and performance has resulted in teaching awards at every level. He was selected a Fellow of the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, won a NACTA Western Regional Outstanding Teacher Award and an Outstanding Teacher Award from the American Agricultural Economics Association, was a featured teacher of the WSU College of Agriculture and Home Economics (now the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences) four times and won an R.M. Wade Award. In 1990, Casavant was named the WSU Faculty of the Year based largely on his exceptional teaching and student advising.
He has authored two books and six articles that deal with teaching and the use and applicability of teaching evaluations. He previously developed and implemented Colleague Aided Evaluation, a tool still used by WSU, Purdue, Penn State, North Dakota State University and others. His scholarly work in undergraduate education focuses on gender and economic learning, the dynamics of a classroom and maturity and economic learning. Casavant has been a major professor to 15 doctoral students and 23 master’s students.
Additionally, Casavant maintains a strong commitment to community service. His activities include serving as president of the Pullman Chamber of Commerce, president of Sacred Heart Church, a member of the Pullman City Council and a board member for the Pullman-Moscow Airport Board. He also designed the first Pullman transit system. Casavant was elected chair of the WSU Faculty Senate and president of the Western Agricultural Economics Association the same year, and has served as associate director of the Washington State Transportation Research Center. He was an interim vice provost of both research and academic affairs at WSU and serves as the president’s faculty athletic representative. He was also president of the Pac-10 Conference two years ago.
Casavant came to WSU in 1967, where he served as a graduate research assistant in agricultural economics until becoming an instructor with the department in 1969. He earned a doctorate from WSU in 1971 and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from North Dakota State University in 1967 and 1965, respectively.
The first award created at Washington State University to recognize faculty excellence, Casavant is its 70th recipient.