Published: Jan. 18, 2018

2018 Distinguished Academic Staff Awards

Contact(s): Beth Brauer-Delaney Communications and Brand Strategy, Heather Bailey Office of the Provost office: (517) 884-4957

Jeffrey A. Judge Jeffrey A. Judge

James Madison College

Jeffrey A. Judge has served as assistant dean in James Madison College, or JMC, since 2010 and has worked for JMC and MSU since 1999, first as director for admissions and later as the director for academic affairs. Judge is responsible for accomplishing or supervising student academic affairs, including advising, student success initiatives, course scheduling assistance, recruitment and enrollment management, undergraduate research and staff supervision and development.

Judge understands the details, even the obscure details, of academic and student regulations, yet also knows how to apply the rules humanely. He often anticipates problems and brings them to a student's attention before the problem becomes serious. Students recognize this about Judge and flock to him with every question, concern, and issue imaginable. He has helped students navigate countless academic quandaries, but he has also visited their hospital rooms, sat with them at court hearings and supported them through the death of parents, siblings and friends. He takes on these responsibilities because he views his job as more than just helping students academically. He understands that life can be hard and that, unfortunately, many of the students are navigating adulthood without sufficient support.

Students describe Judge as knowledgeable, approachable and caring. A recent graduate said, “Mr. Judge is a dedicated champion for students and their potential. He was the continual voice of encouragement for me throughout my time at MSU.”

Another aspect of Judge’s position is to manage and support the staff who support the academic experience of students in JMC. Judge helps students with more than university policy and procedures, for which he is a wealth of knowledge. More importantly, he walks along with them as they navigate new scenarios and situations, offering tips, modeling responses and standing back when confident of their ability to succeed. He helps people develop professionally with both the support and independence needed to move forward.

Whenever faculty have questions on advising, curriculum reform or any other matters, they know they can come to Judge for help — even questions related to college minutia. Judge helps everyone in the college make sure that they can complete their job responsibilities effectively.

For his tireless commitment to students and their success in all facets of life, his support of staff and faculty with boundless grace and humility, Jeffrey A. Judge is a most deserving recipient of Michigan State University's Distinguished Academic Staff Award. 

Philip G. SchwallierPhilip G. Schwallier

Michigan State University Extension

Philip G. Schwallier has a passion for the fruit industry, MSU Extension and Michigan State University. A leader in commercial tree fruit production since the onset of his career at MSU Extension, Schwallier has been an invaluable resource and mentor to numerous MSU Extension professionals as an educator. In several capacities, Schwallier has more than 45 years of close work with MSU Extension.

Having grown up in an apple growing family, Schwallier’s background is firmly rooted in apple production, for which he is well-known in the commercial tree fruit industry. With a specialty in the area of apple thinning and specifically in the use of apple growth regulators, for which he is considered the resident expert in Michigan and the Great Lakes region, he has been involved with work related to apple maturity, postharvest storage, marketing and integrated pest management. His educational projects include several guidebooks that fruit producers still use today: “The Apple Pest Guide,” “Apple Thinning Guide,” and “Predicting Fruitset Model.”

However, Schwallier’s information distribution did not end with guidebooks. Throughout his years in Extension, he worked diligently to bring the latest, cutting-edge technology to the apple industry. Even before the university used formal websites, Schwallier built one to share the latest information on apple growing. From being one of the first MSU Cooperative Extension Agents with a mobile phone to bringing the first weather monitoring stations on the Ridge (where data had to be downloaded onsite and calculated by hand) to today’s web-based EnviroWeather system, Schwallier has played a key role in bringing technology to tree fruit producers in Michigan.

Schwallier has consistently worked with industry groups and specialists to bring new ideas to fruition to benefit the apple industry, including research and programming with the Michigan State Horticultural Society, the Michigan Apple Committee (he conducted 39 research projects since 2007, totaling $441,337), the Northeast Plant Growth Regulator group and the International Fruit Tree Association. These relationships have fostered increased profitability for apple growers throughout the country.

Currently, Schwallier is working on the mechanization of apple production systems, such as harvest and in-field sorting platforms. He also recently collaborated with a colleague to establish the MSU Ridge Apple Lab and to obtain a computerized internal/external Compac line to improve the production and quality of Michigan apples. Schwallier’s life is the apple industry, and he has contributed more to it than can be written on one page.

For his dedication to apples in Michigan and beyond in addition to his ongoing commitment to agricultural education, Philip G. Schwallier is most deserving of Michigan State University's Distinguished Academic Staff Award.

George Hubert SilvaGeorge Hubert Silva

MSU Extension

George Hubert Silva is a nationally recognized extension educator in plant nutrient management and unmanned aerial systems technology. His ability to create multi-agency collaborative partnerships to achieve farm profitability and environmental stewardship has been the hallmark of a career spanning more than 31 years. As the first MSU Educator to pass the Federal Aviation Agency knowledge test to become a licensed Pilot-in-Command to operate drones for extension programming, Silva’s career has encompassed every aspect of MSU Extension’s Mission: teaching, research, service and leadership.

One of Silva’s greatest attributes is his ongoing development of cutting-edge, educational programming. The “Annual Crop and Pest Management Update for Michigan Agribusiness,” held for the past 18 years, provides an excellent example. This workshop delivers current, research-based MSUE insect, weed, disease and fertilizer recommendations to company professionals, service providers and the farming community in December of each year, just before crop inputs are purchased for the next growing season. Silva includes the emerging and urgent issues critical to the workshop to address agriculture’s critical needs from campus scientists’ and his own research. The audience for this program represents a total annual crop production value exceeding $2.6 billion.

Silva has demonstrated a commitment to protect Michigan’s natural environment and resources for future generations. He is dedicated to promoting sustainable approaches to farming to enhance the biological productivity of the soil and maintain the safety of air and water resources. In keeping up with changes in local and global markets, Silva has embraced the paradigm shift facing U.S. farmers, from a commodity-based production system to a market-oriented, customer-focused production system and is dedicated to helping it become more sustainable and profitable.

Silva has published extensively. Since 2011, he has written more than 140 MSU Extension news articles and published a series of five pieces on the challenges to feeding the 50 billion people in 2050, which are being compiled into a textbook projected for publication in 2018. He has published four “MSU Extension Bulletins” and developed three web pages. He is also the current webmaster of the field crops team, which provides the field crop industry with up-to-date information. To maintain and extend his applied research, Silva has regularly garnered extramural support, with total funding of $157,696 since 2007 for 21 funded grants.

For his enduring commitment to promoting environmentally, economically and socially sustainable agricultural practices in Michigan and his support of farmers and the agriculture industry, George Silva is a most worthy recipient of the Michigan State University Distinguished Academic Staff Award.

Lois G. WolfsonLois G. Wolfson

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Lois G. Wolfson has been a champion for water resources in Michigan and beyond for more than 38 years. Throughout her remarkable career, she has advanced understanding of water resource protection and management, and supported connections with colleagues and peers to help them succeed.

Wolfson has a knack for building and maintaining networks among water resource stewards in Michigan and nationwide while contributing her own expertise and enthusiasm. She frequently serves as the linchpin of interdisciplinary and multi-organizational partnerships, vital to the success of these enterprises.

A dedicated instructor in and out of the classroom, Wolfson teaches the techniques of the trade to fisheries and wildlife students. She has been pivotal in the development and delivery of successful, long-term outreach and extension programs, including the “Michigan Lake and Stream Leaders Institute,” a leadership training program that develops citizens into effective water resource stewards, and “Introduction to Lakes,” an online course that has earned several prestigious awards for bringing the understanding of lakes and their management to statewide and national audiences. For 26 years, she has organized the no cost, open-to-the-public Great Lakes Conference at MSU.

Wolfson has served as a mentor to countless students and peers, offering support, insight and humor. An MSU Extension colleague wrote, “I have always found Dr. Wolfson wise in her counsel and generous with her time. She is dedicated to helping students and peers develop the skills and expertise they need to achieve success.”

Responsiveness to emerging water issues illustrates Wolfson's approach to outreach. She immediately responded to the Flint Water Crisis in 2016 by co-authoring an MSU Extension bulletin for homeowners, “A Guide to Home Water Treatment,” along with several news articles on lead in home water supplies. Most recently, she served on the program development team for “Water School: Essential Resources for Local Officials,” which was designed to deliver relevant, science-based information about water science and the management of Michigan's water resources to encourage sound decision making by local officials in the management, protection and stewardship of Michigan 's water resources. Wolfson provided her critical expertise throughout the curriculum’s development and specifically helped develop and present the “Water Quality” unit.

For her exemplary record of outreach, teaching, research and service to MSU and unwavering commitment to the management, protection and preservation of Michigan's waters, Lois Wolfson is a most deserving recipient of Michigan State University’s Distinguished Academic Staff Award.