Meet our Instructors


Andy Baker, Professor of Agricultural Education and Director for the School of Agriculture

He has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate level courses on teaching methodologies, plus secured numerous educational grants and donations. Prior work experience include positions in the USDA and curriculum development.

Steve Bennett, Associate Professor, WIU
Specializes in field-based physical hydrogeological studies and stream sediment transport. He is also the current treasurer of the Illinois Groundwater Association.

Chris Enroth, Extension Educator, University of Illinois Extension Office
An expert in general horticulture, landscape horticulture, landscape architecture and site design. As well as sustainable best management practices (BMPs), landscape installation, and maintenance of hardscape and softscape materials.

Joel Gruver, Associate Professor - Soil Science & Sustainable Agriculture, WIU
Discovered his love of soil at a young age on his family's small diversified farm in rural Maryland. He joined the faculty at WIU in 2007. In addition to teaching, he conducts research on cover crops and organic farming systems, and speaks at farmer meetings.

Angie Peltier, Extension Educator, Commercial Agriculture, University of Illinois Extension
Specializing in plant pathology, she has worked to incorporate pathology research into many of the ongoing corn and soybean studies at the Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center.

Winthrop Phippen, Professor - Plant Breeding and Genetics , WIU
Professor of plant breeding and genetics of Alternative Crops. His research is focused on agronomic and breeding improvement of new and alternative crops.

Ryan Severs, Associate Producer, University Television, WIU

Produces promotional content and programming for Western Illinois University. He also has experience as a live newscast director in Peoria, IL.