Janice Thies

Janice Thies

Associate Professor

722 Bradfield Hall
(607) 255-5099

JANICE THIES is an Associate Professor of Soil Biology in Soil and Crop Sciences and International Professor of Soil Ecology. She is a 2006 American Society for Microbiology Latin America International Professor and has led five international workshops on Soil Molecular Ecology. Dr. Thies was an team member of the Cornell Institute for Social Sciences theme project entitled 'Contentious Knowledge: Science, Social Science and Social Movements', the Cornell Cooperative Extension Soil Health Program Work Team, the S-1022 Technical Regional Project Committee and the W2170 Regional Project. She has served as an expert consultant to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the National Institute for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Iran, the USDA Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program, and has served twice on Scientific Advisory Panels for the US-EPA. She is a current associate editor of the Soil Science Society of America Journal and past member of the Editorial Board of Applied and Environmental Microbiology and the CALS Faculty Senate, where she served on the Executive Committee and as both Secretary and acting Chair. Her research program in soil ecology focuses on developing, testing and implementing methods to assess soil biological quality, remediate degraded soils, and improve soil management practices to ensure the long-term sustainability of agricultural ecosystems.

Teaching Focus

My philosophy of teaching is encompassed in three key concepts. The central concept in my approach to teaching is that students learn best when they are encouraged and expected to take responsibility for their own learning within a guided framework. Alongside this, I believe that students make greater strides in learning when they are fully engaged in the teaching/learning process themselves, rather than being simply a passive audience. Additionally, I believe that integrating current research into teaching is a critical component of the teaching/learning process and is essential to train students in concepts at the cutting edge of the field. These concepts are illustrated in the ‘hand-on’ approach that I take to instruction, particularly in my graduate level course. Lastly, I am strongly committed to continuing my own development as an educator, specifically to continue to integrate new theories of learning into my courses and to make the best use possible of electronic resources for students.

Selected Publications

Journal Publications

Book Chapters

  • Thies, J. E., & Rillig, M. (2009). Characteristics of biochar: Biological properties. Biochar for Environmental Management Lehmann, J and Joseph, S (ed.), Earthscan, London, UK.
  • Tsai, S., O'Neill, B., Cannavan, F., Saito, D., Falcao, N., Kern, D., Grossman, J., & Thies, J. E. (2009). The Microbial World of Terra Preta. Amazonian Dark Earths: Wim Sombroek’s Vision. Woods, WI, Teixiera, WG, Lehmann, J, Steiner, C, Winkler Prins, AMGA, Rebellato, L (ed.), Springer Science and Business Media B.V..
  • Thies, J. E. (2008). Molecular methods for studying microbial ecology in the soil and rhizosphere. Molecular Mechanisms of Plant and Microbe Coexistence Nautiyal, CS and Dion, P (ed.), Springe-Verlag, Berlin, Germany.

Conference Proceedings

  • Thies, J. E. (2009). Approaches to measuring the abundance, activity and diversity of soil microbial populations. 19th Annual Symposium on Soil Borne Pathogens, Proceedings, 19th Annual Symposium on Soil Borne Pathogens, Proceedings, Stellenbosch, South Africa.