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Four Out of Six Ain’t Bad!

Posted by | April 16, 2012

In my previous post, I talked about the long list of recognitions handed out to CAHNRS and WSU Extension faculty, staff, and students at the 2012 Showcase events. In fact, the list got so long that I ran out of space and reserved some of the discussion for this later post.

During the evening Showcase gala, CAHNRS faculty received four of the six major faculty awards. My job was to escort each award winner to the stage, and it became exhausting and a little embarrassing (in a good way!) as I escorted recipient after recipient to the stage.

Congratulations to each of these deserving faculty members. While I don’t have the space to detail their distinguished careers, I thought it would be useful to briefly discuss their stories.

Lori Carris, associate professor and associate plant pathologist in the Department of Plant Pathology, earned the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Instruction. Lori is admired for her excellence in teaching, including Plant Path 150, “Molds, Mildews, Mushrooms: The Fifth Kingdom.” It takes a lot of talent to make fungi interesting, but this course regularly is one of CAHNRS most popular courses and is always filled to capacity.

Robby Rosenman, professor in the School of Economic Sciences, earned the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Leadership. Dr. Rosenman served as chair of the Department of Economics before becoming associate director and then interim director of the School of Economic Sciences. As an economist myself, I can candidly say that economists are not the easiest group to lead, but Robby has done a fabulous job in these various roles. As Faculty Senate Budget Committee chair, he worked closely with the administration and senate leadership to help the university through a continuing recession that has necessitated unprecedented budget cuts. Most importantly, Robby performs all of this service without compromising his teaching and research activities. He is a prolific author and an outstanding teacher.

Gary Grove, professor and extension specialist in plant pathology at the WSU Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, earned the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Outreach and Engagement. Dr. Grove’s extension program is nationally known for disseminating science-based information on fungal diseases of tree fruit, grapes and hops. Gary is a prolific author and has received more than $4 million in external funding. Gary’s leadership of WSU’s AgWeatherNet transformed it into a vital component of agriculture-based enterprise throughout the state and region. Gary is an avid fisherman, virtuoso guitar player, and a great source of Hawaiian travel tips.

B.W. “Joe” Poovaiah was selected to give the 2012 Distinguished Faculty Address. Dr. Poovaiah’s work on how calcium/calmodulin-mediated signaling controls plant growth, plant-microbe symbioses, and plant immunity/defense has yielded an incredible string of publications in journals such as Cell, Nature, and Science. He holds six patents, has published more than 200 research articles in leading scientific journals, and has successfully competed for millions of dollars in federal grant support. His research success is an amazing story of perseverance and discovery — perhaps a focus for a future blog post!