Whether teaching applied and environmental microbiology, helping to develop alternative fuels, or playing a role in major events of their professional organizations, the 2011 outstanding faculty of West Virginia University’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design have something in common: they’ve all been exemplary in their efforts to further WVU’s land-grant mission.

Candidates for the awards were chosen by the Davis College’s five academic divisions, Animal and Nutritional Sciences, Design and Merchandising, Forestry and Natural Resources, Plant and Soil Sciences and Resource Management. The honorees were selected by college-wide committee.

Gary Bissonnette, professor of environmental microbiology, was named the Davis College’s outstanding teacher. Colleagues describe Bissonnette as engaged both in and out of the classroom.

He received very high student evaluations for his General Microbiology course, in which he instructed close to 200 students over two semesters. He advised 36 undergraduate students and provided mentorship to 16 graduate students, either as major advisor or by serving on their graduate committees.

Bissonnette has also played an important role in curriculum development. He helped develop a non-thesis option for Master of Science students in the Division of Plant and Soil Sciences and served on the advisory committee for the Peace Corps Masters International program.

Other faculty honored for teaching at the divisional level included: Ken Blemings, associate professor of biochemistry; Cindy Beacham, associate professor of interior design; Todd Petty, associate professor of wildlife and fisheries resources; and Harry Boone, associate professor of agricultural and extension education.

Jinxgin Wang, associate professor of wood science and technology, was honored for outstanding research. Peers cite Wang with developing an innovative bioenergy research program that crosses disciplinary boundaries and promises to help alleviate dependence on traditional fossil fuels.

His research funding included $850,000 in new grants in 2010, in addition to eight ongoing grant-funded projects. Wang’s interests include the use of woody biomass as an energy source, computer simulation and systems modeling, and forestry best management practices.

Wang published 15 peer reviewed articles in 2010 and authored several more that are in press or under review. He presented 28 papers at technical meetings across the United States and around the world. He’s also noted for his enthusiastic mentoring of new colleagues, finding interdisciplinary possibilities and forging contacts with funding agencies.

Other faculty honored for research at the divisional level included: Matt Wilson, associate professor and interim director of the Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences; Holly Lentz, assistant professor of fashion design and merchandising; Joseph Morton, professor of plant pathology; and Peter Butler, assistant professor of landscape architecture.

Kyle Hartman, professor of wildlife and fisheries resources, was recognized for his outstanding service. He pursued a range of activities at the national, regional, and university level.

He served as co-chair of the American Fisheries Society’s 2010 National Conference in Pittsburgh. Hartman was responsible for selecting, accepting, organizing, and scheduling all presentations for the conference. He also served as chair of the Best Paper Award Committee for the North American Journal of Fisheries Management, a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Fisheries Society. Hartman worked to further develop his leadership skills through the Lead21 program for research, academics, and extension professionals at land-grant institutions.

Hartman fortified academic relationships with Hocking College in Ohio to help students prepare for further studies in wildlife and fisheries at WVU after completing their associate degrees. At WVU, he served on the Faculty Senate and its executive and instruction committees, and on the advisory board of the McNair Scholars Program and the Provost’s Task Force on Advising Implementation.

Other faculty honored for service at the divisional level included: Hillar Klandorf, professor of biochemistry; Barbara McFall, associate professor and director of the Division of Design and Merchandising; Barton Baker, professor director of the Division of Plant and Soil Sciences; and Fonda Holehouse, teaching assistant professor of agricultural and resource economics.


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