In recognition of their accomplishments as educators at West Virginia University, Jim Anderson and Dan Panaccione have been named Davis-Michael Professors in the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design.
Professorships were endowed for each of the Davis College’s five academic divisions – Animal and Nutritional Sciences, Design & Merchandising, Forestry and Natural Resources, Plant and Soil Sciences, and Resource Management – as part of a $16.2 million bequest made to the college by Morgantown sisters Gladys Davis and Vivian Davis Michael in September 2001.
Anderson, a professor of wildlife and ecology management, will hold the professorship for the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources. Panaccione, a professor of mycology and genetics, will hold the professorship for the Division of Plant and Soil Sciences.
Since joining WVU’s faculty in 1999, Anderson has provided new opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students by offering new courses, improving upon existing courses and curricula, being a guest-lecturer in a number of courses, arranging seminar speakers to come to WVU, helping students find jobs and start careers and serving as a mentor by providing research opportunities for students wishing to pursue careers in research in the STEM disciplines and applied management activities.
Director, Division of Forestry and Natural Resources
In his work as director of WVU’s Environmental Research Center, Anderson has developed large and small collaborative teams to pursue interdisciplinary topics, particularly on issues such as climate science, environmental planning and evaluation of biochar. He has also spent considerable time mentoring new faculty members on productive research avenues, obtaining grants and contracts and navigating their way through WVU policies and procedures. He has received more than $11.2 million in grants and contracts since coming to WVU.
“Jim is an innovative and extremely talented researcher who also has a high level of skill in the classroom,” said Joe McNeel, director of the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources. “This allows him to pass his findings on to our students as well as to the profession.”
McNeel also praised Anderson’s leadership abilities and his dedication to service, citing projects like the development of the West Virginia Natural History Museum.
Panaccione, who joined WVU’s faculty in 1992, is described by colleagues in the Division of Plant and Soil Sciences as “the go-to person” for counsel on numerous biological issues. He has become a pre-eminent scientist as a result of his research on ergot alkaloids, detrimental substances produced by fungi found in grain crops and forage grasses, and also by some common molds. His research is of great importance to the agricultural community especially in the area of quality feedstuffs for animals. He has developed numerous international collaborations as his reputation has grown.
-Director, Division of Plant and Soil Sciences
He balances his research agenda with enthusiastic teaching. He is routinely ranked as one of the outstanding teachers in the Division of Plant and Soil Sciences. Primarily concerned with graduate studies, he also engages undergraduate students in his courses. He routinely mentors undergraduate students in independent research, advising participants in WVU’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience and the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates.
“Dan is an excellent research scientist who has the ability to adjust his presentation and casual conversation to the level of the audience, be that a group of elementary school students looking at mushrooms for the first time, or a farmer wondering how Dan’s work with alkaloids in fescue has an application on a family farm or an advanced doctoral student who is trying to determine the metabolic pathway for synthesis of a compound,” said Barton Baker, director of the Division of Plant and Soil Sciences.
Appointees to endowed positions must have a record of distinguished academic or professional work. A candidate’s suitability is judged in national terms, as compared with colleagues in peer institutions. The appointee must be verified at the departmental and college levels and confirmed by the provost and vice president for academic affairs before a nomination is submitted to the president.
Davis-Michael Professors are expected to assume additional responsibilities during their five-year, renewable appointments.“These professors are called upon to function in a leadership role within their Divisions, the Davis College, and West Virginia University as a whole,” said Rudolph P. Almasy, interim dean of the Davis College.
The Gladys Davis and Vivian Davis Michael gifts were made to the WVU Foundation, the private, non-profit corporation that generates, receives and administers private gifts for the benefit of WVU.
CONTACT: David Welsh; Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
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