Harouna Maiga, Ph.D

CROOKSTON, Minn. - Since 1965, the Horace T. Morse-Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education has been given to a select group of teachers who reflect the University's emphasis on the importance of high-quality undergraduate education. Those who receive this award become members of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers (ADT). The title "Distinguished University Teaching Professor" or "Distinguished University Teacher" is conferred upon recipients.

This year Harouna Maiga, Ph.D., professor in the Agriculture & Natural Resources Department at the University of Minnesota Crookston, is one of the recipients of this prestigious University-wide award. Maiga's expertise is in animal and equine sciences and agriculture education. In his more than a two-decade career at the University of Minnesota Crookston, he has taught generations of students in Crookston and in his home country of Mali. He is most interested in a student’s personal and professional growth. 

In typical UMN Crookston fashion, Maiga provides experiential, hands-on learning to his students. His former students appreciate the opportunities he provided to them. Samantha (Lukas) Adams, a 2003 graduate in animal industries management, wrote that visiting a 10,000-cow dairy farm as part of a North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) trip with Maiga enabled her to be very successful in regulating feedlot operations from a practical perspective. "Dr. Maiga is an innovative teacher and a passionate advocate for undergraduate teaching and learning. He brings his rich international experience from the agricultural industry to the classroom," said Anthony Kern, Ph.D., division head for Agriculture, Natural Science, and Technology.


"He (Maiga) is the driving force in internationalizing teaching and learning on the Crookston campus," said Venugopal Mukku, Ph.D., associate professor in the Math, Science, & Technology Department. Maiga was one of the first faculty members to provide study abroad opportunities to his students. "I had never traveled abroad and instantly afterward became hooked sheerly from Dr. Maiga's inspiration and zest for inquisition and adventure," stated Eleora DeMuth, a 2021 graduate. 

Maiga describes his relationships with students: "I care deeply for students and their achievements. I am passionate about student advising and mentoring because I believe advising is key to a student's success in college and future careers." It is no wonder he received a constant stream of accolades. The following awards are a testament to the high regard his students, colleagues, and profession have for his teaching and scholarship. 

  • Distinguished Teacher Award

  • Outstanding Service Learning Award

  • NACTA Teacher Award

  • Award for Global Engagement by the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance of the U of M

A number of his former students shared how his mentorship played a crucial role in their academic and professional careers. One of Maiga's specialties is his ability to guide students past their comfort zone to reach their maximum potential and be exposed to the global world. Many of his former students recall how he motivated and encouraged them to pursue study abroad opportunities, participate in undergraduate research, publish the results, and seek admission into graduate schools. 

Maiga's personal story inspires his students, many of whom are first-generation students like him. They relate well to his struggles and how he overcame them with a constant pursuit of better education. His roots in animal science and agriculture go back to his childhood days in Mali. He grew up on his family's livestock farm, where he was the herdsman for cattle. Maiga describes his opportunities for higher education as an extreme challenge. Thus a passion for it was born. "It has become a driving force in my life to encourage and facilitate education and learning in students who face challenges in their academic and personal lives," says Maiga.

About UMN Crookston

One of five campuses in the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston cultivates curiosity by engaging students in hands-on learning connecting theory to practice. As the experienced leader in delivering education online, the Crookston campus offers a distinctive learning environment providing personal attention and mentorship to develop leaders, lifelong learners, and engaged citizens. Visit Crookston at c.umn.edu  

About UMN

The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota. Learn more at system.umn.edu.

Story Contact: Shawn Smith