The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics is proud to announce that Professor Lars Olson is the recipient of the 2020 Dean Gordon Cairns Award for Distinguished Creative Work and Teaching in Agriculture, presented by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland. The Cairns award is the college's premier award for recognizing members of the faculty who make outstanding and creative contributions.
As a scholar, Lars is known worldwide in academic and policy circles for his groundbreaking work on managing risks of invasive pests. His work has appeared in leading journals in economic theory, environmental and resource economics, and general science. His most recent paper on the use of tariffs to deter the introduction of potential invasive pests arriving in fruit and vegetable imports was featured in Maryland Today and continues to be featured in the News section of the AGNR website. He has made important contributions in a number of other topics in economics as well, including the economics of conservation, management of stock pollutants, conjunctive use of ground and surface waters, screening of environmental hazards, the role of natural resources in economic growth, and sanitary/phytosanitary standards in international trade.
Lars has made numerous contributions to improving undergraduate education here in College Park. He founded Sustainability Analytics, one of the first streams in the University’s First-Year Innovation and Research Experience (FIRE) Program, now in its 6th year and the only FIRE stream in the College. Lars also founded the campus-wide Global Poverty minor, now the 9th largest minor on campus. Additionally, Lars played a central role in creating the Department’s two I-Series courses, including a popular interdisciplinary course on the Chesapeake Bay. Lars contributes to campus-wide efforts to foster innovation in undergraduate education as a member of the Provost’s Academic Planning Advisory Council, the I-Series General Education Faculty Review Board, and the Global Studies Minors Committee.
His research and contributions to policy discussions have helped build the University’s reputation for first-rate scholarship in the service of the nation and humanity as a whole. His leadership in undergraduate education has created exciting new opportunities for undergraduates and serves as a model for innovation. His service to the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and to the campus as a whole has been exemplary.
Congratulations to Lars on this well-deserved recognition!