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WSU College of Ag & Home Ec Faculty and Staff Honored

PULLMAN, Wash. — Faculty and staff of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics were honored for teaching, research and outreach at the 42nd annual college awards banquet on Saturday (April 21).

William Johnston, associate professor of crop and soil sciences, received the college Alumni Association Undergraduate Advising Award.

Johnston, a member of the WSU faculty for 20 years, teaches turf and forage classes, conducts workshops and coordinates the crop and soil sciences department’s internship program. He also serves as chair of his department’s scholarship committee, as a member of the department’s undergraduate curriculum committee and advisor of the student Turf Club. He has advised an average of 28 undergraduate and graduate students the past four years.

Richard Zack, assistant professor of entomology, received the R.M. Wade Excellence in Teaching Award.

Zack, who also has been at WSU for 20 years, has been instrumental in increasing the enrollment of Entomology 101 from 23 students in 1997 to more than 90 in 2000. Altogether, his six classes account for almost half of his department’s undergraduate enrollment.

Zack practices his delivery the night before each class he teaches. The result is a lecture that appears to be extemporaneous, according to John Brown, department chair. “Students repeatedly identify Dr. Zack as the best instructor they have had at WSU.”

Markus Flury, assistant professor of crop and soil sciences, and Barry Swanson, professor of food science and human nutrition, were named co- winners of the annual Faculty in Research Award.

In four years at WSU, Flury’s research has spanned the field of soil physics, from the transport of viruses, radionuclides and dyes to the development of novel means of determining fundamental physical properties of soils.

Swanson, who has been with WSU since 1974, has an international reputation for research on grain legumes, sugar-fatty acid polyesters for fat substitutes, non-thermal food processing and food safety, according to Alan R. McCurdy, chair of the food science and human nutrition department.

Allan Felsot, environmental toxicologist at the WSU Food and Environmental Quality Laboratory in the Tri-Cities, received the Extension Faculty Excellence Award.

During the past two years, the seven-year employee of the university has averaged 50 presentations a year on topics ranging from biotechnology and transgenic crops to salmon, water quality and pesticides.

Never afraid to tackle tough issues, Felsot has worked with disputing growers in Badger Canyon and the Horse Heaven Hills over long-standing allegations of pesticide drift. Tests he conducted found that direct drift from the Horse Heavens was not causing herbicide injury to crops.

The Team Excellence Award was presented to seven employees of Grays Harbor County Cooperative Extension for a successful two-week summer day camp team members created for 75 first- through sixth- graders. A long list of community partners pitched in to provide a site for the camp, transportation for campers, noon meals and a lot of educational activities.

The program served a portion of the county which cannot support meaningful activities for children during the summer months.

Honored at the banquet were Joe Kropf, area chair for Grays Harbor and Mason County Cooperative Extension; Linda Faaren, coordinator for the WSU Learning Center for Grays Harbor and Pacific counties; and Carol Rieth, a senior secretary with Cooperative Extension in Grays Harbor.

Also recognized were Debbie Adolphsen, principal assistant with WSU Cooperative Extension in Grays Harbor County; Doris Torkelson, an extension educator with Grays Harbor and Mason County, Chris Frank, a program assistant and Greg Bjordal, a Washington Higher Education Telecommunication System operator in Aberdeen.

Johnston and Zack each received a plaque and check for $1,000. Flury and Swanson each received a plaque and $1,000 for professional development. The Grays Harbor team received $1,000 for professional development. Each member also received a plaque.

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