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College of Human Ecology

K-State's Commerce Bank distinguished graduate faculty awards to Edgar Chambers IV and Allen Featherstone

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

MANHATTAN -- Noted researchers in sensory analysis and agricultural finance are receiving Kansas State University's Commerce Bank Distinguished Graduate Faculty awards.

Edgar Chamber IV, professor of sensory analysis and consumer behavior in the department of human nutrition and co-director of the Sensory Analysis Center, and Allen Featherstone, professor of agricultural economics and director of K-State's award-winning master of agribusiness distance education program, will each receive a $2,500 honorarium as part of the honor. The awards are supported by the William T. Kemper Foundation and the Commerce Bancshares Foundation, and they are coordinated through the Kansas State University Foundation.

"This is the 11th year that Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation have partnered with K-State to support the Commerce Bank Distinguished Graduate Faculty Awards. It is an opportunity for us to show our support of the university and to assist its efforts in recognizing faculty members who excel in teaching, research and the mentoring of students," said Tom Giller, community bank president, Commerce Bank, Manhattan.

"K-State deeply appreciates the continuing support of Commerce Bank and its related foundations in helping to honor and reward faculty members like Drs. Chambers and Featherstone who have drawn national and international attention to K-State through their work," said Jon Wefald, K-State president.

"Dr. Chambers has been instrumental in expanding the College of Human Ecology's Sensory Analysis Center into an internationally recognized center that provides consulting, educational and research services to many of today's leading companies," Wefald said. "Dr. Featherstone has been a key contributor in developing the university's master of agribusiness distance education program, which has been nationally honored as one of the best in the nation."

Since joining K-State in 1988, Chambers has developed and teaches seminal courses in sensory analysis and consumer evaluation at the graduate level and has mentored many master's and Ph.D. students. He has been instrumental in expanding the College of Human Ecology's Sensory Analysis Center through contractual research and development work with major U.S. and multinational corporations, which has provided graduate students with on-the-job training while they are taking courses and conducting research for their degrees.

Chambers has conducted numerous studies on the sensory properties of a variety of products, including cosmetics, food, textiles, pharmaceuticals, paint, paper and more. His research findings about dietary portion size have shaped policies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Center for Disease Control and have been referenced in their congressionally-mandated mission of monitoring the food and nutrient intake of Americans.

The author or co-author of more than 70 refereed publications, Chambers' research has been supported by both the public and private sectors, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Coca-Cola Co., Frito-Lay Inc., National Livestock and Meat Board, General Mills and the Kansas Value Added Center. He also is one of four U.S. representatives to the International Organization for Standardization's Committee on Consumer and Sensory Analysis and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Sensory Studies. He has been honored for his work with two Outstanding Research Awards from the College of Human Ecology.

Chambers earned a bachelor's in food science from the University of Tennessee and a master's and doctorate in foods and nutrition from K-State. He completed postgraduate work in psychology and behavior at Washington University in St. Louis. After earning his degrees, he spent eight years in industry, including five years as manager of sensory and statistical analyses at the world headquarters of the Seven-Up Company. He also has been a consultant in product evaluation to a variety of industries, including General Mills, DuPont, Schering-Plough HealthCare, Gerber Corporation and others.

Along with serving as director of the master of agribusiness distance education program, Featherstone teaches two of its courses, Agribusiness Finance and Seminar in Agricultural Economic Analysis. Launched in 1998, it was the first graduate agribusiness program in the nation to be offered through distance education and allows agribusiness professionals to earn an advanced degree without career interruption. It currently has students from 35 states and 15 foreign nations. The program was honored as the most innovative distance education program in the nation with the 2001 Peterson Award by the University Continuing Education Association.

Featherstone also teaches a Ph.D.-level course in production economics. His research in this area has investigated issues such as ground water allocation; costs of risk; the interactions of weather, soils and management on corn yields; analysis of the returns to farm equity and assets; and analysis of the optimizing behavior of Kansas farmers. His recent work has been examining the stability of estimates using duality and examining the application of new functional form for estimating production relationships.

He has published more than 80 journal articles, five book chapters and given numerous presentations. He has participated or managed 21 significant grant-funded or contract research projects. He has been recognized with several professional awards, including the American Agricultural Economics Association Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award in 2002 and the Outstanding Online Teaching and Outstanding Online Course awards at the 2005 Summer Institute on Distance Learning and Instructional Technology.

Featherstone earned bachelor's in economics and agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, and a master's and a doctorate in agricultural economics from Purdue University. He joined K-State in 1986 and was promoted to full professor at K-State in 1996.

This article was posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2005, and is filed under Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health.