Faculty Spotlight: Mark Balschweid

Mark Balschweid
Mark Balschweid
November 2, 2020

About Mark

I am originally from Oregon and started my career as a high school agricultural education teacher in Tillamook, Oregon, where the high school mascot was the Cheesemakers! After teaching high school for seven years, I went back to Oregon State University and received my doctorate in agricultural education. Upon graduation my family and I moved to Purdue University where I was on faculty for 10 years preparing high school agricultural education teachers for the state of Indiana.

What is your position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?

I am a professor of agricultural education and head of the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication.

What drew you to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?

One day in the fall of 2007 Dann Husmann contacted me about the opening for a department head in ALEC. I’d never considered leaving Purdue, but the more I looked at UNL and Nebraska the more intrigued I became by the work being done at UNL and the people involved. UNL is clearly on the forefront of finding solutions to the grand challenges that our global community is facing in the areas of food security, food safety, water resources, renewable energy and more.

What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most? 

Clearly the students are at the top of the list. It is very energizing to work with individuals who are curious about the world in which we live in, who question why we do the things that we do and who are eager to solve problems and find solutions for today’s global challenges. It is so rewarding to work in a place like Nebraska where the citizens and taxpayers value education and recognize the opportunity we have within the university system to not only influence positive change within our state, but lead in the solutions to global challenges we face today and in future generations. 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My wife, Mae Anne, and I just celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary. Between that and the challenge of launching three children into the world and helping them lean into their life’s calling – there is no greater achievement that tops that.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?

I grew up in a very musical family and can play the piano, acoustic guitar, tuba and bass guitar. As a high school senior, I placed third in Oregon’s High School solo competition on the tuba. 

What is your life like outside of work? 

My wife and I are pretty involved at Christ Place Church and try to take advantage of as many opportunities to serve the Lincoln and UNL communities as possible. There is tremendous need in this world, and we strive to make an impact where we can.