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​2024 Fellow: James Bradeen​

James M. Bradeen's administrative vision has made higher education fairer and more accessible because he creates academic and outreach programming through the lens of increased educational flexibility, thereby changing when, where, and to whom education is made available. Although he is nominated primarily for his administrative roles, Jim has made significant contributions to the land-grant missions of research, teaching, and outreach. 

Dr. Bradeen was born in Kalamazoo, MI. From a young age, Jim was passionate about plants, an interest fueled by his formative years on his family's grape farm and encouraged by his grandmother. Since 1986, he has been continuously associated with agricultural research, teaching, and outreach at land-grant institutions, completing undergraduate studies at Michigan State University, graduate degrees at the University of Wisconsin, and postdoctoral positions at Rutgers University and the University of Wisconsin/USDA-ARS. Jim joined the University of Minnesota as an assistant professor of plant pathology in 2002 and ascended through the ranks to associate professor with tenure in 2008 and to full professor in 2013. His research focuses on the molecular biology of plant-microbe interactions to answer basic evolutionary and ecological questions that have direct applications to agriculture and environmental sustainability. 

Jim is a research and academic programming innovator. Under his leadership as department head in Minnesota (2013–2022), Jim's philosophy of educational flexibility led him to adjust curricula to enhance undergraduate and graduate education and to provide opportunities for graduate student and faculty development. Numbers of student credit hours taught by the department were increased through expansion of teaching capacity and pedagogical innovations. He led collaborative design of an interdisciplinary Sustainable Plant Health program that prepares students for careers as comprehensively trained plant health professionals. Departmental faculty numbers increased by 22%. Jim sought faculty appointments that captured emerging areas, including high-throughput plant phenotyping/phenomics, crop genetic improvement, and crop adaptation to changing environments. He improved faculty mentoring and expanded professional development opportunities. He also strategized new funding for improved research facilities. One fundamental change was in the funding model for the Plant Disease Clinic and enhancement of its role as a teaching/research facility. The director of the clinic was appointed as a teaching assistant professor with responsibilities for plant pathology courses. This shift resulted in a >50% increase in departmental student credit hours and provided the clinic with stable financial support. The clinic became a venue for undergraduate experiences, yielding a steady pipeline of new graduate students. Jim increased research capability with public-private agreements that enable student experiential learning opportunities in an industry setting and yield increased funding for shared research facilities. He made graduate student stipends and professional development opportunities available by expanding funding streams to both corporate and philanthropic sources. With these funds, students had opportunities for international internships and research visits, study abroad, and attendance at scientific meetings. Free membership in professional societies was provided for all graduate students. 

As founder and codirector of the Stakman-Borlaug Center for Sustainable Plant Health, Jim positioned the center as an innovation platform, fostering interdisciplinary research/outreach and developing and maintaining public-public and public-private relationships. More than $2.1 million in funding was received by the center under his leadership. Among successes, he codesigned, launched, and led Oat Global, a public-private partnership that aligns research priorities at public institutions with the needs of farmers, millers, food manufacturers, and consumers and establishes new funding sources for oat research and extension. 

Since 2022, Jim has served as associate vice president for Spur Strategy at Colorado State University. As the inaugural academic officer of the outward facing CSU Spur campus, Jim has worked across disciplines to empower faculty and staff to bring programing to life. He has led strategic assessments and established experiential education, innovation, and research as priorities. Jim has positioned CSU Spur as a learning venue for all and established educational flexibility, access, and equity as central to messaging. Since opening in 2022, CSU Spur has hosted 150,000 learners of all ages, including 12,000 K-12 students as part of a statewide field trip program. He fostered creation and growth of innovation/entrepreneurship foci in food, agriculture, water solutions engineering, biomanufacturing, sustainability, and performance textiles. At Spur, Jim remains dedicated to plant pathology outreach; the Plant Disease Clinic is integral to Spur programming. 

In support of his leadership and vision, Jim has become an expert and power user of social media. Through his active social media engagement, he has kept plant pathology in the minds of his 5,000+ followers. Recorded sessions of “Speaking of Oats," a virtual community launched during the pandemic, received so many views (>1,800) that Jose Costa, USDA ARS national program leader, told Jim, “I'm very glad you are hosting these seminars, it is a great service to the oat community." 

APS has directly benefited from Jim's expertise in scientific communication and vision for educational flexibility. He hosted seasons two and three of the Plantopia plant health podcast and currently serves as the chair of the steering committee for that outreach. He also served as the internal communications officer and council member (2018–2023). He chaired the Academic Unit Leaders Forum (2014–2015) and was an active member while at Minnesota. Jim also has served as an external reviewer for multiple plant pathology academic program reviews. 

At all stages of his career, Jim has been a north star for broadening diversity for organizations to which he belongs, because issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion are integral to his leadership. Jim has served as an active member and chair (2015) of the APS Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and has been a leader in providing safety and inclusion for LBGTQA members. Jim initiated programming access through LBGTQA-focused activities and Diversify APS. At CSU Spur, he continues to create opportunities for minority STEM learners (black students in STEM, female science communicators, and Hispanic working professionals).​ 

Jim has received numerous university teaching and mentoring awards, including the Little Red Can Award that recognizes contributions that diversify and strengthen the educational and research reputation of the University of Minnesota.