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James J. Zaczek (Outstanding Recent Alumnus)

Ph.D. Forest Resources, 1994

Dr. James J. Zaczek is the second recipient of the School of Forest Resources Outstanding Recent Alumni Award, created in 2002 to honor alumni who have graduated in the previous ten years. Zaczek completed his doctoral degree in Forest Resources in 1994 under the direction of Dr. Kim Steiner, professor of forest biology. His dissertation focused on the cloning performance of red oak (Quercus rubra L.).

From 1983 to 1997, Zaczek was a research assistant and then senior research assistant in the School. He assisted other faculty and graduate students in the design, implementation, and analyses of projects relating to forest biology such as artificial regeneration of forest tree species on forested and disturbed lands, and genetic testing of forest and Christmas tree species.

In 1997, Zaczek was hired as assistant professor of forest biology in the Department of Forestry at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (SIUC)—his other alma mater; he completed his B.S. and M.S. degrees in forestry there in 1980 and 1982, respectively. In 2003 he was promoted to associate professor.

Zaczek is primary instructor of three courses at SIUC and a team member of several others. He received the Donald M. Elkins Excellence in Education Award in 2001 as college-wide recognition for his teaching achievement. He also serves as faculty adviser of Xi Sigma Pi, the forestry honor society, and as faculty fiscal officer of the SIUC Forestry Club.

Since earning his Ph.D., he has authored 24 refereed publications (in 13 refereed journals) and 21 other publications. Since starting at SIUC, he has brought in 17 grants. He currently advisees six graduate students and serves on the graduate committee of 21 additional students.

At SIUC, Zaczek is active at the department, college, and university levels, having chaired the department’s Peer Review Teaching Evaluation Committee, the college’s Faculty Policy Committee, and serving as a member of the university’s Plant Science Ph.D. Development Committee.

His professional memberships include the Society of American Foresters, the Association of Southeastern Biologists, and the International Plant Propagators Society. He is a certified pesticide applicator in Illinois as well as Pennsylvania.

Zaczek’s high personal and professional standards are fully evident in the breadth, quality, and extent of his achievements since his graduation in 1994. He is proving to be an exceptionally valuable member of the faculty of Southern Illinois University.

April 2005