Department Honors Jim Woolley’s Service during Retirement Reception

Dr. Jim Woolley, left, holding his retirement plaque. Standing with Wooley is Dr. David Ragsdale, Professor and Department Head. Photo by Rob Williams.

Dr. Jim Woolley, left, holding his retirement plaque. Standing with Woolley is Dr. David Ragsdale, Professor and Department Head. Photo by Rob Williams.

The Department of Entomology recently celebrated Dr. James Woolley’s more than 30 years of service as a Professor during a special retirement reception in the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ’56 Equine Complex on Monday, October 9.

Woolley retired on August 31, 2017 after he began his career 34 years ago as an assistant professor. In his teaching, Woolley taught hundreds of students both at the graduate and undergraduate level within the Department.

Woolley developed and taught two graduate courses that included Principles of Systematic Entomology (ENTO 601) and Quantitative Phylogenetics (ENTO 606) and supervised four postdoctoral researchers, 15 Ph.D. and Masters students as chair or co-chair, and has served on committees of 35 Master’s and 36 Ph.D. students.  He also has been dedicated to teaching undergraduates, including mentoring 21 undergrad researchers and teaching courses in Biodiversity and Biology of Insects (ENTO 301), Systematics and Biology of Insects (ENTO 302), Insect Biology (ENTO 313), and Methods of Imaging Insects.

Group of people with Dr. Jim Woolley.

From left to right, Dr. Ted Wilson, Dr. Max Summers, Dr. Bob Coulson, Dr. Roger Gold, Dr. Jim Woolley, Dr. Fowden Maxwell, Alice Ramsey Jeanes, Dr. Larry Keeley, and Dr. Darrell Bay. Photo by Rob Williams

Woolley was also known for providing immersive international research experiences through teaching a Study Abroad course with Dr. Thomas Lacher with the Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences department at the Archbold Tropical Research Centre in Dominica for more than 20 years and has taught several additional courses and workshops in Mexico and Central America.

Woolley has developed an internationally-recognized research program investigating the taxonomy and systematics and biology of parasitic wasps. His program included researching all aspects of the wasps, including the biological control, survey and curation and management of collections, as well as the evolutionary biology, phylogenetics and morphometrics.

To date, Woolley’s research has resulted in 58 peer-reviewed and two electronic publications, a co-authored book, and more than 50 invited talks at symposia and seminars worldwide. Woolley and his students have presented posters at numerous research conferences.

Dr. Woolley with students.

Dr. Jim Woolley with current and former students. From left to right, Jewel Coffey, Xanthe Shirley, Dr. Woolley, and Devon Eldridge.

The research also has successfully secured funding from the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture, which included several Dissertation Improvement Grants and Research Experience for Undergraduates, or REU, grants for his students. His research on the wasps also helped lead to successes of biological control of whiteflies, Russian wheat aphids, as well as advances on sugarcane aphids.

Woolley currently serves as the editor in chief of Thomas Say Publications in Entomology for the Entomological Society of America and on the Editorial Board of the journal Biological Control, and has served as Editor and Associate Editor for Cladistics and Systematic Biology. Woolley also has served as Treasurer, Secretary and President of the International Society of Hymenopterists, as well as served on several committees both within the Department and for the ESA.

Woolley received numerous awards, including the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Deans Outstanding Achievement Award for International Impact in 2015 and the Outstanding Professor of the Year Award in 1998 and 2003 from the Department of Entomology’s Undergraduate Student Organization. Woolley also received the International Society of Hymenopterists’ Distinguished Service Award in 2012.

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