Randall Miles, associate professor emeritus of soil science in the School of Natural Resources, received the 2020 Thomas Jefferson Award as part of the UM System President’s Awards. The Thomas Jefferson Award is reserved for faculty who rise above excellence and demonstrate clear distinction, not only in their career, but also in service to the University of Missouri and humankind.
Over his career as a beloved instructor at MU, Miles has made a major impact on student education. Beyond that, his profound passions for soil science, human health and community wellbeing have led him to make fundamental contributions to the development of small rural towns. He has leveraged his expertise in wastewater treatment to help smaller municipalities to recycle water back into the local watershed while recycling nutrients for onsite crop utilization and generate income through the installation of low-cost irrigation systems that promote biofuel production. He has also elevated the reputation of the university by establishing the Missouri Onsite Wastewater Training and Research Center, which has served as a major educational resource for regulators, soil scientists, installers, engineers, designers, land-use planners, home inspectors, and homeowners.
Miles has earned numerous awards from CAFNR, including the Dana Brown Haynes Distinguished Service Award in 2018 and the Outstanding Teaching Award in 1993. He served as the director of Sanborn Field for several years as well.
As an expert in both teaching difficult concepts and putting them into action, Miles is a rarity. The fact that he has applied his considerable talent to elevate the quality of life in small-town America make him exceptional, and worthy of the Thomas Jefferson Award, according to the UM System.