State Horticulture Program Team Leader (2006-Present)
I direct the Horticulture Program Team for Clemson University (Public Service Activities, P.S.A.). I assumed this position at the time when the "Program Team" concept was first implemented for Clemson University Extension. I serve on the Cabinet for the Vice-President-P.S.A. and report to the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Extension. I provide leadership for urban and commercial horticultural extension efforts statewide. I am responsible for setting goals, encouraging and determining annual performance for 36 county extension agents with primary horticulture responsibilities. I conduct quarterly program team meetings at various locations in the state that include educational programming. I provide in- and out-of-state educational opportunities for in-service training for county agents. I identify position needs within the state and I am helping to develop a new 5-year hiring plan. I developed position descriptions, interviewed and hired two regional county agents for the upstate and midlands regions of SC. I also directed the searching, interviewing, hiring and mentoring for three new urban horticulture agents hired in 2007-2008. As part of my ESCOP/ACOP Leadership Training Program, I developed a new logic model to update the on-line reporting system (contacts, activities, accomplishments, etc.) for all county extension agents and specialists. The goal of this project was to develop a reporting system that was more intuitive, logical, thorough and accurate. The system was based on the P.S.A. goals with initiatives focused on traditional commodity emphases. It integrates with the Federal "Plan of Work" and allows administrators to "mine" data from the on-line database for preparing reports to legislators, commodity groups and the public. I worked closely with administrators, specialists and county agents to develop the new system. Our computer programmer coded the new system and it is being utilized now. I brainstormed with the P.S.A. "Web development team" to develop the concept for the new website for the Cooperative Extension Service, in general, and the Horticulture Program Team, in particular. (see link: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/horticulture/index.html)
Instructor of Record (2006-Present)
HORT 455/655 "Just Fruits" (3 credits): I developed this new course in temperate-zone pomology. It is offered during the Fall semester and it was taught to 29 (24 undergrad., 5 graduate), 26 (23 undergrad., 3 graduate) and 29 (25 undergrad., 4 graduate) students in 2006, 2007, and 2008, respectively. It introduces students to the major tree and small fruit crops and covers the main topics including taxonomy, origin and history of cultivation, folklore, medicinal properties and nonfood use, production, botanical description, general culture, harvest and post-harvest handling and use in the human diet. Graduate students were required to prepare and present a PowerPoint lecture on a fruit crop not covered in class. This also included a formal write-up and a 25-point quiz with answers. An addition to the class in 2007 was the incorporation of a "fruit-tasting" session in each lecture period at half-time providing fresh fruit or processed products related to the crop being discussed that day.
Extension Tree Fruit Specialist
I have statewide responsibilities for extension programming and serving the needs of commercial fruit growers of South Carolina comprising 17,000 acres of peach, 2,000 acres of apple and approximately 500 acres of strawberries. My extension programming involves developing local and regional programs for agent in-service training, providing educational programming for growers, developing extension publications for print and the web, making commercial herbicide, growth regulator, chemical thinner and nutritional spray recommendations, making on-site visits to diagnose grower problems and responding to industry concerns as expressed by phone, e-mail and FAX. I train county agents in the field and assist growers in assessing and reporting crop damage for insurance/disaster claims. I serve as an advisor to the SC Peach Council (grower organization). Further, I have developed and/or maintain web pages with information on peach and pawpaws. I also diagnose plant insect, disease and physiological problems through the Clemson University Plant Problem Clinic. I serve as the primary Clemson University fruit crops contact person to the news media.
Associate Professor of Pomology
I have conducted applied and basic research that has direct application to the SC fruit industry, in particular, and to the southeastern U.S. region, in general. Past and recent research projects (details appear later) include examining: i. The influence of reflective film on fruit color, maturity and quality of commercial peach cultivars; ii. The influence of reflective film and ReTain on color, maturity and quality of ‘Gala’ apples; iii. The influence tree training system, density, rootstock, irrigation and fertility on tree growth, yield, fruit quality and labor costs for ‘Redglobe’ peach trees; iv. Evaluation of peach cultivars and advanced selections for suitability in SC; v. Reduced-application and sulfur-based fungicide programs and their impact on peach scab intensity, fruit quality, and cost of disease control; vi. Biological control of oak root rot (Armillaria tabescens) in peach; vii. Assessing the usefulness of gastrodianin to engineer Armillaria resistant woody plants; viii. Preplant practices to manage Armillaria root rot disease and other soil pathogens on a commercial replant site; and ix. Genetic diversity in Phytophthora cactorum isolates from strawberry. I have continued to collaborate and publish many scientific articles with my successor at KY State Univ., Dr. Kirk Pomper, on pawpaw. Many of these publications result from projects that I began or have developed jointly with Dr. Pomper since I left KY State University in 1997.