MSU CANR names Isaacs 2018 distinguished faculty

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at Michigan State University is honoring six leaders in agriculture and natural resources for their community, state and national leadership.

March 7, 2018

Rufus Isaacs

EAST LANSING, MI — The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at Michigan State University is honoring six leaders in agriculture and natural resources for their community, state and national leadership. The awards will be presented on March 9 during the annual ANR Week luncheon at the Huntington Club at Spartan Stadium.

Rufus Isaacs, Ph.D., will receive a Distinguished Faculty Award.

Isaacs is a professor in the MSU Department of Entomology. Colleagues describe him as a dynamic researcher, teacher and leader in fruit insect pest management and pollination ecology.

He is internationally recognized for his research on berry crop pollination and insect pest management, which has helped prevent millions of dollars in crop losses and led to new methods of controlling insect pests of grapes, blueberries and other berry crops. Isaacs’ research on managing the invasive spotted wing Drosophila has allowed growers to produce berry crops that meet market expectations while minimizing pesticide inputs.

His pollination research has demonstrated that managed honeybees and native bees are critical and cost-effective components of fruit crop production systems. In response to the pollinator crisis, he also leads a national project on integrated crop pollination.

“I’m struck by Rufus’ ability to delve deeply into basic and applied research questions while achieving meaningful impact with his stakeholders,” said Neal Williams in supporting Isaacs’ nomination. Williams is an associate professor in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at the University of California, Davis. “This is a testament to his diligence, but also to his ability to engage a wide variety of growers, land managers and agencies.”

Isaacs is an outstanding teacher and mentor who effectively trains the next generation of entomologists in the classroom and lab on how to research, teach others and positively affect society. His comprehensive mentoring has resulted in former students occupying positions of influence in the realms of academia, government and nongovernmental organizations worldwide.

Isaacs is also a prolific and successful writer, public speaker, and grant seeker. He has written more than 150 publications, including papers, book chapters, books, technical reports, and Extension materials, and given hundreds of presentations, many of them invited. Since 2012, he has been principal or coprincipal investigator on over $12 million in grant projects.

Isaacs is an exceptional scholar who has brought profound distinction to CANR and MSU.

The Distinguished Faculty Award honors a CANR faculty member who has brought distinction to the college through teaching, extension or research, and has provided leadership that has helped students, faculty or citizens to reach their potential for excellence.

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