Benjamin Runkle, associate professor, biological and agricultural engineering, College of Engineering. Benjamin Runkle leads a research group that aims to enhance our understanding of globally relevant landscapes through connections between the carbon and water cycles. His research on rice irrigation practices has helped quantify a water-saving technique that significantly reduces the greenhouse gas production of these food-providing landscapes.
Runkle’s honors students have examined questions related to irrigation water use, rice plant growth dynamics, and modeling agricultural systems. One of these theses was published in the peer-review literature. In 2018, Runkle helped initiate a team research grant focused on the campus’s green roof on Hillside Auditorium that also supported several individual honors research theses. He has also advised honors theses in sustainable urban and rural topic areas and he co-leads a study abroad course to Ghent, Belgium, that attracts many honors students. He is planning to offer an Honors College Forum, Nature-based Climate Solutions, in 2022.
Runkle has been recognized as an outstanding teacher by the University of Arkansas Alumni Association, the American Society of Engineering Education, the College of Engineering, and the Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering. In research, he has received recognition from the Rice Technical Working Group, the College of Engineering, and the NSF, who awarded him a CAREER grant on climate-smart irrigation strategies for rice agriculture. In service, Runkle has co-advised the LGBTQ+ affinity group, oSTEM at the University of Arkansas, since its inception in 2018.