Wednesday, August 9

Professor Zhu Ning Honored with Prestigious International Society of Arboriculture Award for Sustained Excellence in Education

Professor Ning displays her prestigious international award
Baton Rouge, La. (August 9, 2017) - Dr. Zhu H. Ning, an Endowed Professor at the Urban Forestry and Natural Resources Department of the Southern University and A&M College System, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is the 2017 recipient of the International Society of Arboriculture’s (ISA) prestigious Alex L. Shigo Award for Excellence in Arboricultural Education.

According to the ISA, this Award of Distinction is presented to Professor Ning in recognition of her dedication to enhancing the quality and professionalism of arboriculture through sustained excellence in education.

Ning was recognized during the opening ceremony of the ISA Annual International Conference and Trade Show on Sunday, July 30, 2017 in Washington, D.C. 

The ISA, headquartered in Champaign, Illinois, USA, is a professional organization supporting urban forestry and arboricultural research, education, and outreach around the world. ISA, with more than 30,000 members and credential holders worldwide, has been honoring members and industry professionals with the Awards of Distinction since 1963. Nominations are reviewed by the ISA Awards Committee and winners are selected then presented to the ISA Board for approval. 

Through her professional services to ISA, Dr. Ning has made significant impacts on arboricultural education at the national and international level. She was elected as a member of the ISA Board of Directors and contributed to the ISA strategic direction including education and research policy development that ensures the educators, scientists, practitioners, and students to receive advanced and best available arboricultural and urban forestry knowledge.

While serving as the ISA President of the Arboriculture Research and Education Academy and member of the ISA Science and Research Committee, she played an important role in identifying emerging education issues and research needs. She also served on the ISA Conference Program Committee to organize the conference education programs/sessions and workshops.

Ning has been an Associate Editor and an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Arboriculture and Urban Forestry, one of the two premier urban forestry journals in the world. Her contributions to the Board and to the Journal have made lasting impacts on the journal’s quality and the scholarly endeavors of the educators and students. She has also served as a peer reviewer of the ISA Arborists’ Certification Study Guide book, arboriculture and urban forestry articles, and book chapters.

Ning’s dedication and impact on urban forestry education extends beyond the borders. She has influenced the development of scientific exchange in urban forestry between USA and China. Supported by the ISA, Ning chaired and organized the first “Urban Forest Sustainability International Symposium.” Her efforts provided education and scientific exchange platform for international educators, scientists, practitioners, and students from four continents.

“Dr. Ning’s work with the international symposium not only helped promote arboriculture in China, but also introduced the world’s most populous country to ISA,” says Michelle Mitchell, ISA Board president. “Ning also led a team in translating ISA’s Arboriculture Dictionary into Chinese, which helped advance arboriculture education in China.”

“I am deeply humbled for being honored with this award. I want to thank the ISA and its members for nominating, selecting, and honoring me with this highest award in arboricultural education. I would like to acknowledge Southern University, NSF, NASA, USDA NIFA, ISA, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) for their support to my research and education efforts that benefit the students both in USA and China,” Ning said.

With the new course contents and teaching modules, Ning has contributed to the enhancement of the Urban Forestry Master’s degree curriculum at Southern University by designing, developing, and enhancing an arboricultural course titled “Tree Biomechanics.” She encourages students to learn tree structure, function and physiological processes in an interconnected way, and challenges students to apply the learned knowledge in identifying tree structural problems, conducting tree risk assessment, and developing mitigation strategies.

She has also created a new course titled “Sustainable Natural Resources in a Changing Climate.” Ning has incorporated climate change and sustainability, two issues of critical importance to the world, to the SU’s Urban Forestry B.S. curriculum, which is a significant effort in enhancing urban forestry education and enabling students to be familiar with related current and potential national initiatives.

With the support from her externally funded nationally competitive grants and projects, such as “Quantifying the response of urban tree species to elevated CO2 and flooding,” “Integrating Sustainability in Urban Forestry and Agriculture Education,” and “Enhancing global competence and research skills in climate change and urban ecosystems through collaborative research in China,” Ning provided experiential learning opportunities and hands-on research training that enable students to enhance their research skills and knowledge, and strengthen their global competency. 

Dr. Ning’s externally funded projects have been a valuable tool in recruitment and retention that enabled her and the department to attract, select, and retain highly qualified new recruits both at undergraduate and graduate levels, through providing professional development opportunities, research stipends for undergraduate students, assistantships for graduate students, and salaries for post - doctoral trainees.

Utilizing her grant writing skills, she has created and taught a new Ph.D. level course called “Proposal Development and Grant Writing.” She offers students the principles in developing a proposal, teaches how to write a proposal, leads them in exploring the funding opportunities, guides students in preparing a grant application, and prepares them for a competitive workforce.

For more information, please contact Zhu H. Ning at or 225-771-6292.


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