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I grew up on a small farm and have always been interested in food and agriculture. I also love people. This job provides the opportunity for me to work with people in the academic and experiential context of both.

Dr. Robert “Bob” Williams, Ph.D.

  • Alum
  • Faculty

Professor Agriculture, Food and Family

He hungers to know more about food. A native of Sulphur Bluff, Texas, Bob Williams studies food from farm to fork. What we eat and how we eat it is rooted in our history, geography and traditions. Farmers face economic, social and natural challenges that affect our food availability and accessibility. By studying the past, Williams brings these concerns to the present reality. But the conversation doesn’t end there. For Williams, studying food is more than acquiring knowledge. It’s about tasting and seeing. Our Twin Oaks Farm at A&M-Commerce lets him do so. A university-owned and student-operated farm, Twin Oaks brings the classroom to the soil and fields. Farming takes time. But for the farmer, the joy starts in the ground, long before it reaches our dinner table.

A Conversation with Dr. Williams

Tell us about an academic project you are working on or recently completed.

“Over the past three years, I have begun to teach more food-related courses. We now offer a Food Studies minor and a new Agriculture, Food and Family option in Agricultural Science and Technology that allows students to prepare for a career as a middle or high school Family and Consumer Sciences teacher or extension agent. I am really excited about this new direction and encourage prospective students to check it out.”

How has A&M-Commerce influenced your life and/or career?

“I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degree here back when we were known as East Texas State University. I lived and worked on the university farm, ate in the cafeteria and engaged in several campus organizations and activities. Those experiences and degrees help me launch and advance my career as an educator. Now I am back on campus helping students like my professors and mentors did when I was attending here.”

What would you tell a student who is thinking about attending A&M-Commerce?

“This is a great university to attend. It will change your life and open doors for you that you may never have known existed. I know because I have two degrees from A&M-Commerce and two daughters with degrees from here. Another daughter works here.”

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Family and Consumer Sciences Education, Texas Tech University, 2000
  • MS, Agriculture, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 1981
  • BS, Agricultural Education, TAMU-C, 1977

Academic Positions

  • Professor, Agricultural Sciences, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2015-present
  • Interim Associate Director, School of Agriculture, TAMUC, 2014-2015
  • Associate Professor, Agricultural Sciences, TAMUC, 2009-2014
  • Assistant Professor, Agricultural Sciences, TAMUC, 2002-2009
  • Interim Department Head, Agricultural Sciences, TAMUC, 2001-2002
  • Assistant Professor, Agricultural Science & Technology, TAMUC, 2000-2001
  • Ad Interim Instructor, Agricultural Sciences, TAMUC, 1999-2000

Awards and Honors

  • Investigator of the Year, A&M-Commerce, 2015
  • Chancellor’s Academy of Teacher Educators, The Texas A&M University System, 2014
  • Thirty-Year Service Award, Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas, 2013
  • Trezzie Pressley “Ceaseless Industry” Award, TAMUC Faculty Senate, 2012

Professional Organizations

  • American Association for Agricultural Education
  • American Horticultural Society
  • North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture
  • Southern Rural Sociological Association
  • Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas

Research Funding

  • $250,645, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, 2014
  • $849,686, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, 2010

Selected Publications

  • LaVergne, D.D., Bakhtavoryan, B., & Williams, R.L. (2018). Using a logistic regression approach to estimate the influence of demographical factors on small engine and welding competency of secondary agricultural education teachers. Texas Journal of Agriculture & Natural Resources 31, 1-11.
  • Mayorga, B. B., Williams, R.L., Wickersham-Fish, L. & Duch-Ceryallo, T. (2017). Needs assessment for prospective Hispanic farmers and ranchers. Journal of Southern Agricultural Education Research 67(1), 86- 100.

Featured Courses

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