Rufus Isaacs awarded MSU’s prestigious Beal Outstanding faculty award

Each year, Michigan State University honors 10 faculty members for their outstanding contributions to education and research with William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Awards.

Rufus Isaacs

On Feb. 6, 2018, Rufus Isaacs was officially presented with a Beal Outstanding Faculty Award. He joins 551 professors who have been honored since the award was established in 1952. Recipients are chosen based on continued excellence throughout their appointment at MSU.

The award citation commends Isaacs as follows:

Rufus Isaacs is an exceptional scholar, who seamlessly merges fundamental and applied research to solve critical problems with insect pests while simultaneously transmitting knowledge to stakeholders and mentoring the next-generation of scientists. He is internationally recognized for his research on berry crop pollination and insect pest management, which has saved fruit producers millions of dollars in lost revenue and led to effective means for controlling devastating invasive insect pests of grapes, blueberries and other berry crops.

Specifically, Isaacs’s research on managing the invasive spotted wing Drosophila (commonly known as small fruit flies) has allowed growers to produce berry crops that meet market expectations while minimizing pesticide inputs. His research on pollination services has demonstrated that enhancing native pollinators can be a cost-effective means of sustaining production. He has also significantly changed the science community's understanding of the current pollinator crisis by leading a national project on integrated crop pollination. As a result, this understanding now includes not only managed honeybees but also native bees as critical components of fruit crop production systems.

Isaacs is an outstanding teacher and mentor, effectively training the next generation of entomologists in both classroom and lab settings and providing examples of how scientists can train others and positively affect society. In his lab, students gain hands-on research experience in field and laboratory techniques that allow them to explore the many facets of entomology careers, from private industry, government regulatory agencies and extension education. His teaching style combines traditional elements of instruction with the use of technology and social media to reach a wide variety of audiences. He actively engages his students in the teaching process by coaching them to present information to a diverse set of stakeholders throughout the state, from small and large farmers to other entomologists engaged in pest management research. He guides his students to present their work at conferences, where many are frequently award winners. His comprehensive mentoring has resulted in former students occupying positions of influence in academia, government and NGOs worldwide.

Isaacs' scholarship has global reach as measured by his many invited talks and presentations to international audiences. His publications have received more than 5,500 citations. Additionally, he has an exemplary record of service at international, national, regional and university levels.

Read about the other 2018 recipients at MSU Today: 2018 William J. Beal outstanding faculty awards.

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