Glen R. Stanosz
Glen R. Stanosz was born in Milwaukee, WI in 1954. He received his B.S. in forest biology from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse in 1976, his M.S. degree in plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin in 1983, and his Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin in 1985, under the direction of R. F. Patton. After a brief period as a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Plant Pathology at North Carolina State University, he joined the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, Bureau of Forestry, Division of Forest Pest Management, as forest pathologist in 1987. He joined the Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin, in 1992 as assistant professor with an 80% research, 20% instruction appointment. He was promoted to associate professor in 1998 and was awarded the title of Van Arsdel Professor of Tree Pathology in 1999. Though his academic career is young, Dr. Stanosz has distinguished himself as an extraordinary teacher of plant pathology to undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students, and to the public at large.
Dr. Stanosz developed the course, Diseases of Landscape Trees and Shrubs, and arranged to teach it one evening weekly so that working professionals in the nursery and landscape industries could enroll. Typically one-third to one-half of the students are working professionals, some driving 2 to 3 hours (one way) to attend! These professionals most often have degrees in horticulture or landscape architecture and lack expertise in plant pathology and microbiology. Such students frequently report ignorance, fear, and loathing of the microbial world prior to taking the course. After taking the course, these attitudes are replaced by confidence rooted in knowledge. This knowledge includes not only facts about diseases and pathogens, but also the orderly process of scientific inquiry. In this way, factual information is applied to solve plant health problems. Dr. Stanosz elicits appreciation for plant diseases and an eagerness to diagnose them among students with little or no background in microbiology. These working professionals along with the undergraduate and graduate contingent, who will soon join them in the woody plant industries, have numerous ongoing contacts with the public. They are practitioners of “real-world” plant pathology and pest management. Thus, the course has a tremendous “multiplier” effect; a far larger number of people are educated about plant health than those that actually take the course. Dr. Stanosz’s success is already resonating beyond the borders of Wisconsin. In 1999, the International Society of Arboriculture honored him with the Gold Leaf Award, presented in recognition and appreciation of the course, Diseases of Landscape Trees and Shrubs.
Dr. Stanosz teaches Insects and Diseases in Forest Management with Dr. Ken Raffa, an entomologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Students have said that Dr. Stanosz has a remarkable knack for making lively what was expected to be a dry topic. Some have gone on to take in-depth microbiology courses, largely because Dr. Stanosz sparked their curiosity. In this course, Dr. Stanosz effectively incorporates findings from his research program. The role of site factors in disease development, such as water deficit, has implications for where pines and poplars should be grown commercially and how they should be managed. This practical knowledge is taken very seriously when it is developed in the research program of the instructor.
Dr. Stanosz has stated that his goal as a teacher is not merely to teach a subject, but to teach how to learn a subject. According to him, “if a student captures a glimpse of what is beyond course material, is stimulated to seek further, and is armed with the tools to critically begin their own inquiry, then progress is made.” Dr. Stanosz also recognizes that identifying and solving plant health problems is rarely a sole venture. With this in mind, he fosters collaborative activities, including disease diagnoses with by the students. Students learn about the needs and capabilities of others, while contributing to a common solution. The ability to work productively as part of a team is a trait widely sought by employers, yet many instructors do nothing to cultivate this skill in students. Dr. Stanosz’s students are indeed fortunate. As his students point out, “Dr. Stanosz is a teacher (not just a professor) and Professor Stanosz genuinely cares about getting the students to understand this material and to use it in the real world.”
Dr. Stanosz is an active member of APS, especially in matters related to teaching. He co-organized a 1996 workshop on the use of computers in teaching, and volunteered his time and expertise in a short course, Pest Management of Evergreen Trees. He was a key player in developing the first subject matter-specific student paper competition, now an annual activity of the Forest Pathology Committee. Glen Stanosz consistently gives far more to teaching than would be expected at his 20% teaching appointment. His commitment to classroom and outreach education is extremely rare among faculty with majority research appointments at the UW-Madison. The UW Department of Plant Pathology feels privileged to have this superb teacher and dedicated scholar cultivating the future practitioners of our discipline.