University System Awards

University of Nebraska System AwardsOTICA, ORCA, IDEA

2015 OTICA Award RecipientMartha Mamo, Ph.D., Agronomy

Martha Mamo profile photo

Martha Mamo, Ph.D., professor of agronomy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Mamo’s courses in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources have proven to inspire students’ interest in soil sciences. “Without the courses she taught, I would not have as productive of a farming operation,” wrote one former student. “And I never would have had the interest or the capability of starting my own soil sampling business.” Even among colleagues, Mamo is an educator, sharing teaching tips that lead to changes in other faculty members’ classrooms. Also a successful researcher, Mamo has secured funding for studies on sorghum production systems in Africa, and she co-developed a global food security course. She teaches instructional efforts with farmers in Ethiopia and is currently developing online lessons in earth and environmental sciences. Mamo estimates she has taught more than 2,000 students since 2000.

Watch Dr. Mamo's Video

The University of Nebraska recognizes the importance of honoring accomplished faculty, staff, students, and community leaders and organizations for significant contributions and achievements.

Faculty excellence in teaching, research and outreach is honored each spring with the ORCA, OTICA, IDEA and UDTA awards presented by the President. Entrepreneurial initiatives of businesses and students are honored with the Walter Scott Awards. And lasting contributions to the university and to the world are honored with the Regents Medal and Honorary Degrees.

University of Nebraska Kudos recognize staff who go "above and beyond," while Resolutions are presented by the Board of Regents to honor service to the university.



Two Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Awards are presented each year in honor and recognition of meritorious and sustained records of excellence in teaching and creativity related to teaching to two full-time faculty members of the University of Nebraska. Both awards may be made to the same campus in a given year.

More information available from the University of Nebraska System.

Past OTICA Awardees from CASNR

2015 Martha Mamo Agronomy
2012 Tiffany Heng-Moss Entomology
2009 Donald Lee Agronomy & Horticulture


ORCA awards are presented each year in honor of outstanding research or creative activity of national/international significance conducted by individual full-time faculty members at NU. The awards are given for a sustained record of excellent accomplishment in research or creative activity, rather than “meritorious service”. A major part of the work on which each nomination is based must have been done while the nominee has served at NU. Each nominee must still be engaged in research or other creative activity at the University to be eligible.

More information available from the University of Nebraska System.

Past ORCA Awardees from CASNR

2014 Donald Weeks Biochemistry
2011 P. Stephen Baenziger Agronomy & Horticulture
2008 Vadim Gladyshew Biochemistry
2006 Ruma Banerjee Biochemistry
2003 Stephen Ragsdale Biochemistry
1992 James Van Etten Plant Pathology
1988 Dermot Coyne Horticulture
1982 Myron Brakke Plant Pathology
1981 Charles Gardner Agronomy
1979 John Schmidt Agronomy


The IDEA is a university-wide faculty award recognizing faculty excellence in engagement and outreach. The award honors faculty members who extend their academic expertise beyond traditional boundaries of the university in ways that enrich the broader community. Faculty members are recognized for working with citizens, businesses, government and nonprofit organizations, other educational institutions, communities, or regions to develop new ideas, technologies, programs, or businesses that strengthen the region or community economically, educationally, or governmentally.

More information available from the University of Nebraska System.

Past IDEA Awardees from CASNR

2012 Chris Calkins Animal Science
2011 Taylor Stephen Food Science & Technology
2009 Donald Weeks Biochemistry