October 5, 1998 | By: Ellen Brightwell

One of his students credits Glenn B. Collins with her decision to enroll in the agricultural biotechnology program at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. Collins, her advisor, encouraged her to remain in the rigorous program through some rocky times to work toward becoming the first person in her family to earn a college degree.

Collins has received the university's Outstanding Advisor Award-- Faculty. He is a cellular genetics professor in the Department of Agronomy.

"Dr. Collins is the reason that I attended the University of Kentucky. He went the extra mile, gave me personalized attention, and answered any questions my parents had," said Diana Mastalerz, a junior biotechnology major from Cincinnati.

"That I've made it through some very rigorous course work can be credited largely to Dr. Collins," she added. "He's never too busy to stop and listen to someone's problems. He helped pull me through some difficult periods and taught me to believe in myself and never give up."

Since the University of Kentucky began giving an Outstanding Advisor Award -- Faculty in 1995, three College of Agriculture faculty members have won this award. Loys Mather, professor of agricultural economics, received the 1995 award, Jack Buxton, associate professor of horticulture, received the 1996 award, and Glenn Collins received the 1998 award.

Agronomy faculty members also give Collins high marks for advising students and working to develop and expand the agricultural biotechnology program.

"Glenn has a knack for involving and exciting students. He rejoices in their triumphs and continually congratulates and encourages them. No student leaves a discussion, even one that begins with concern about academic performance, without being buoyed in confidence, energized in commitment, and convinced that a knowledgeable, effective spokesman is on their side," said Todd Pfeiffer, a professor of agronomy who, as an undergraduate student, knew Collins 25 years ago.

Collins, biotechnology program co-coordinator, handles all student recruitment, advises first-year students, and co-teaches the introductory class, among other responsibilities.

"Glenn led the initiative when our faculty began to explore new areas of undergraduate education beyond the traditional agronomy major," said Scott Smith, department chair. "His tireless student recruiting and advising efforts are a major factor in the success of this program. It is an established model of how we can emphasize the role of undergraduates at a research institution."

Collins is proud of the biotechnology program which has almost 150 students.

"This program brings undergraduates into research," he said. "More than 20 students graduate each year. About three-fourths of them go on to graduate or professional school in such areas as agriculture, molecular biology, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, or medicine. Our graduates work in private companies and universities in the U.S. and around the world."

Collins came to the UK College of Agriculture in 1966 as a tobacco breeder and geneticist, later moving into plant biotechnology and genetic engineering.

"It never gets boring," he said. "I've been here about 32 years and it feels like five."

Note: Candid black and white photographs of Collins advising students in the lab and elsewhere are available for news media. Contact Ellen Brightwell at (606) 257-1376.

Contact: 

Writer: Ellen Brightwell
(606) 257-1376

Sources: Todd Pfeiffer (606) 257-4678

Scott Smith (606) 257-7310