486 Horticulture Building
I was hired in 1992 to conduct research and instruction in plant breeding and plant genetics and horticulture. I have also served in a variety of administrative roles in our college including Executive Associate Dean, Associate Dean for Research, Vice Dean, and Interim Dean. I served as the Horticulture Department Chair from 2011-2018. My experiences in administration have been very fulfilling and I value the opportunity to learn and serve our campus. But I have yet to find an experience on campus as deeply meaningful as working closely with students in the learning process. This was largely responsible for my interest in returning to full-time faculty work, and it is still a primary motivator in my career.
Interaction with students on a regular basis forms what is for me a core principle: our primary job in serving the public is to make sure our students can obtain what they came to the university to get: a top-notch education. I see this as one of the primary reasons for being placed here by the people of Wisconsin. We have many objectives in this complex institution, but the one that focuses on getting it right for students is among my highest priorities. I regularly mentor undergraduate and graduate students in their research and I serve as an advisor to a number of undergraduate Horticulture majors.
I teach five courses each academic year, including Horticulture 370 (3 credits), Horticulture 350 (2 credits) and 351 (1 credit), Horticulture 380 (2 credits, team taught), and Biocore 381 (3 credits, team taught). In the summer of 2021, I will also offer Horticulture 350 as an 8-week summer course.
I have been heavily involved in research since my arrival here in 1992. I have had an active group of graduate and undergraduate students in my program throughout my career. My research focuses on vegetable breeding and genetics with an emphasis on plant secondary metabolites that have some potential value for human health and wellbeing. We have also bred numerous cultivars and inbred lines that have been used to make commercial hybrids. These are grown by farmers throughout the world. A portion of our germplasm is licensed through WARF and returns royalties to our program. We currently have over 75 active germplasm licenses.