Dr. StierIt's rare for college deans to remain involved in teaching and research upon their administrative appointments. Rarer still for them to receive the highest honor in their field times two. Yet that's just what has happened for CASNR Associate Dean John Stier. Across the past year, two prestigious Societies have named Stier a Fellow of their organizations in recognition of his career achievements. That's double honors for this specialist in turfgrass environmental issues and policies.

In October, the American Society of Agronomy formally recognized Stier at its annual meeting in Tampa, citing his outstanding contributions to agronomy through education, national and international service, and research. Fellow is the highest recognition bestowed by the Society. Members of the Society nominate worthy colleagues based on their professional achievements and meritorious service, and only up to 0.3 percent of active and emeritus members are eligible for the honor.

Last November, the Crop Science Society of America inducted Stier as a Fellow, also the highest honor of this Society, for his career achievements in areas of turfgrass science and Extension. Cited in the honor was Stier’s research of environmental issues and management of turfgrass, such as nutrient and pesticide fate, invasive grasses, and carbon sequestration, as well as shade and cold stress, herbicides, and weed management. The Society previously honored him with its Martin and Ruth Massengale Lectureship, established to support a distinguished scientist who has made significant contributions to new and innovative research in crop physiology and metabolism, turfgrass science, or forage and grazing lands.

“I’m humbled by these awards,” Stier says. “I cannot help but think of the strong mentorship and guidance I’ve received over the years from my teachers, my colleagues, my friends, and my family.”

His career contributions in the turfgrass industry have received other significant awards. These include the Robert G. and Hazel T. Spitze Land Grant Faculty Award presented for excellence in teaching, research, and science by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; the Pound Extension Award presented by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; and the Excellence in Research Award from Seed Research of Oregon. He has also been recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency for the University of Wisconsin-Madison's integrated pest management program.

At present, Stier has two active grants. In one, he is lead investigator of a three-year, six-state project to document water use for turfgrasses in the US, with an emphasis on lawn water conservation. As co-PI with Adam Willcox, he and other researchers are working to strengthen US agriculture with multidisciplinary international undergraduate research and extension experiences occurring at the Vaca Forest Reserve in Belize. Willcox is a research assistant professor in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries and is CASNR coordinator for study abroad and the international agriculture and natural resources minor.

“We are so fortunate in the Dean’s Office to have an associate dean of such recognized caliber,” says CASNR Dean Caula Beyl. “John’s excellence has been recognized now by two national professional organizations, by colleagues nationally and internationally, and he has certainly earned the respect of his colleagues here for his tremendous work ethic and vision.”