Davis named head of Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

A long-time CSU faculty member is the new head of the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

For more than 20 years, Professor and Extension Specialist Jessica Davis has been producing cutting-edge soil management research in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Colorado State University. Now, Davis has entered a new role as head of the CSU Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

Jessica Davis from Thin Air Nitrogen Solutions, LLC, presents at the Business Pitch Slam at Colorado State University's 2015 Agriculture & Innovation Summit. March 19, 2015
Davis presents at the Business Pitch Slam at CSU’s Agriculture & Innovation Summit on March 19, 2015.

Improving lives

“I am excited to be working with the department because the fields of horticulture and landscape architecture are widely diverse, and the department’s faculty, staff and students improve the lives of the citizens of Colorado and others all over the world,” said Davis. “Our goal is not just to meet people’s caloric needs, but to provide nutritious, safe food and beautiful environments that contribute to all aspects of individual and community health.”

Davis’ research focuses on development of fertilizers and soil fertility management approaches that optimize plant and human nutrition while protecting environmental quality. In the past, she focused on improving manure management practices to optimize soil quality and crop production while minimizing environmental impacts. In recent years, her work has focused on nutrient management in fruit and vegetable systems. Overall, Davis has sought to solve real-world problems by working closely with both organic and conventional growers and many other stakeholders. She believes that scientists must work closely with practitioners of all kinds to make a real difference in the world.

Researcher, author and fellow

Not only is Davis an accomplished researcher whose projects have received more than $26 million in funding, she is a prolific author with more than 60 journal articles and 47 Extension fact sheets. She is a fellow of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, the Soil Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy and is currently president-elect of the American Society of Agronomy.

She is also a highly sought-after speaker and gave a TEDxCSU talk entitled “Fertilizer Worth Spreading” in 2014In addition, Davis balances a focus on Colorado agriculture with global impact through her work in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Cambodia and Indonesia.

“Professor Davis’ strong commitment to global impact of research, student growth and professional development, engagement with research centers, commodity and constituent groups, and outstanding science will serve her well as she takes on the responsibilities of leading the talented team currently in place within the department,” said Ajay Menon, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Davis began her new position on July 15 following the retirement of Professor Steve Wallner, who has served as department head since 1995.

New avenues for growth and national reputation

“I believe that Professor Davis will continue the department’s strong faculty foundation, values rooted in student learning and commitment to high-quality knowledge creation which will provide the necessary ingredients for building on historical strengths and exploring new avenues for growth and national reputation,” said Menon.

For more information on the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, visit its website.