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Jan. 30, 2017

2017 Distinguished Academic Staff Awards

Jordan Pusateri Burroughs
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Jordan Pusateri Burroughs. Innovative and creative, enthusiastic and engaging, collaborative and consistently excellent. These are just a few of the adjectives used to describe Burroughs by her colleagues, partners and stakeholders.
Burroughs is a Department of Fisheries and Wildlife outreach specialist who works closely with the wildlife community of interest in Michigan and serves as the nation’s first Boone and Crockett Club Extension Specialist, a position created specifically for her exceptional skills and ability to communicate the science and value of wildlife resources to local, regional and national policy makers and stakeholders.

As an outreach specialist, Burroughs has created cutting-edge educational and stakeholder support programs that are innovative and effective. The novel Gourmet Gone Wild Program she developed seeks to connect new audiences to hunting, fishing and conservation that builds on the foodie trend of sustainable eating and emphasizes wild game. The Catch and Cook Program she helped develop in 2012 with Michigan Sea Grant and other partners continues to expand. This unique program allows charter fishing anglers to take their catch to a participating restaurant for preparation, cooking and dining, helping charter fishing captains and local restaurants develop new adherents and enhancing the local economy of the Great Lakes’ coastal communities. In 2013, this program received a Governor’s Award for Innovative Tourism Collaboration that highlighted the many diverse groups Burroughs frequently partners with, including the Michigan Charter Boat Association, MSU Extension, the State Department of Natural Resources, MSU Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan Sea Grant, the State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Michigan Restaurant Association.

Burroughs is regularly lauded for her leadership and collaboration skills as well as her ability to not only get things done but to get them done well. As her MSU master’s degree advisor, Rique Campa III, stated, “[Burroughs] is frequently recognized for engaging diverse stakeholder groups on controversial issues, her strength in communicating complex ecological principles and management practices to the public and students and her ability to turn action items in committee work to creative solutions and practices.”

Ann Hoffman
College of Commincation Arts and Sciences

For almost three decades, Ann Hoffman has served the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at every level, from residence hall assistant to academic advisor to assistant dean of undergraduate studies. Under Hoffman’s leadership, the advising office grew from just three academic advisors in 1998 to seven undergraduate advisors and five graduate program coordinators in 2016. As assistant dean, she continues to influence the MSU student experience through her careful attention to student needs and her distinctive ability to create robust and efficient systems.

Hoffman can be found on nearly every college and university level committee that affects the academic lives of MSU students, lending her expertise and insight to help create systems that work for students. Having exemplified excellence and leadership in academic advising at Michigan State University, she played an integral role in creating the current University Academic Advising Manual and led the development of a web-based version for greater accessibility. She has also played key roles in planning and testing to optimize information systems for everything from registration and degree auditing to determining athletic eligibility and systematizing override requests, late adds and independent studies.

Hoffman is passionate about working with colleagues across MSU to facilitate the undergraduate experience. Throughout the year, she consults with departments that are considering curriculum changes, focusing on what the proposed changes will mean in regard to student access to classes, progress toward their major and time toward degree. To understand the depth of Hoffman’s passion for guiding and assisting undergraduates on their journey through MSU, one need only visit the CAS Advising Office that she led for sixteen years. The advisors are the highest quality professionals, expert in the nuances of undergraduate policy. Even more, they are warm and passionate about assisting students.

Hoffman has been the college’s strongest advocate for study abroad opportunities of the highest caliber. She is constantly in search of faculty with research and teaching interests in other countries; assists faculty in designing, budgeting, and arranging overseas opportunities; works to find funding for participating students and makes herself available to faculty and students throughout the duration of their study abroad experiences. Study abroad would not function in CAS without her excellent efforts and attention to detail.

Terry McLean
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

The Flint water crisis will likely go down as one of the worst environmental disasters in our state’s history. As an educator for Michigan State University Extension in Flint for the past eighteen years, McLean had developed the community partnerships and credibility to mobilize MSU resources to assist the community when it was needed most. In 2015 and 2016, she coordinated MSU’s efforts to address lead contamination in vegetable garden soils and the effect of lead in water on food production. Lead exposure and poisoning will be an issue in the Flint community for generations. McLean has demonstrated excellence in urban agriculture techniques and a commitment to empowering underserved cities and populations. Her knowledge and community partnership will help the Flint community understand the lead-based challenges and work to mitigate lead exposure from soil as well as the water.

McLean is a founding member of Edible Flint, a community gardening and urban agriculture network formed in 2009 that works to improve access to healthy food and neighborhood revitalization. She is also engaged in a project to build capacity among female farmers from Genesee County and serves as the state coordinator of the Michigan FoodCorps service program. In this role, she supervises FoodCorps members in five Michigan cities and helps teach thousands of at-risk students about food production and nutrition.

McLean led the Genesee Master Gardener Volunteer Program for thirteen years and has served as a community food systems expert for the past eight. Community members and MSU Extension colleagues recognize her passion for and knowledge of gardening and urban agriculture. She is the only Greening Michigan Institute educator serving on the MSU Extension Vegetable Production Team. Additionally, she was nominated to serve on the USDA North Central Great Lakes IPM Urban Agriculture Working Group and was the first MSU Extension Community Food Systems Work Team chairperson.

McLean is a member of MSU’s Center for Regional Food Systems Advisory Board, Michigan Food and Farming Systems’ Women in Agriculture Network, the Michigan Good Food Charter Steering Committee, and the Tech Ed committee of the Michigan Farm-to-Institution Network’s Cultivate Michigan campaign.

Kaillathe Padmanabhan
College of Natural Science

For more than 20 years, Kaillathe “Pappan” Padmanabhan has been an integral part of the information technology and computer facilities in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB). As senior academic specialist, Padmanabhan has shepherded the department into the twenty-first century. Faculty members, staff, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students have all benefitted from his help, mentoring, patience and expertise.

Padmanabhan expertly manages the Macromolecular Computing Facility, which provides computational and graphics support for teaching and research to serve hundreds of students and faculty in and outside of the department. He also ensures that all relevant data on the administrative computer system is backed up, staff computers boot up and online courses function without a hitch; and he does all this with a smile. This is due to one simple fact: Padmanabhan is willing to help anyone solve a computer problem, from the simple to the complex.

Despite all of these departmental responsibilities, Padmanabhan remains an academic and active structural biologist, who participates in the teaching and scientific life of the department. He teaches a graduate course on the use of computational methods to study protein and nucleic acid structures. His patience and teaching skills have turned many a young and green graduate student into a confident computer user. One faculty member called him BMB’s “Superman Academic Specialist.” A former graduate student remarked that “without Pappan’s enthusiasm, selflessness, willingness to understand the scientific question and dedication to BMB, my project may have stalled. Just as Pappan was a tremendous help to me, he has also helped countless other students and faculty with their projects without asking for recognition.”

Padmanabhan is one of the most extraordinary staff scientists BMB has ever encountered. He literally keeps the department functioning and moving forward. In an anonymous survey on departmental computer resources, the questions that concerned him elicited the most positive responses; many comments from students, faculty and staff said such things as, “Pappan’s great, keep him happy!” and “Clone Pappan!!!”