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The Michigan State University African Studies Center has 170 faculty with experience on Africa, probably the largest in the nation, including the largest faculties in social science (40) and in economics and agricultural economics (16). The Center features many other scholars in African languages, the arts and humanities, education, agricultural and natural sciences, health and medicine and other fields. The faculty members are listed alphabetically by college and departmental affiliation, noting geographical areas of Africa experience, and teaching and research interests.


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Sieglinde Snapp

Department: Plant Soil and Microbial Sciences
Countries/Research: Malawi; Tanzania; Mali; Rwanda; Ghana
Email: snapp(at)
My research focuses on understanding the principles of resilient cropping system design and biologically-based soil management. This includes investigating the multi-functional role of accessory crops such as cover crops in mediating nutrient efficiency, soil function and healthy crop roots. A particular area of interest is the feedback loops in nitrogen and phosphorus availability mediated by plants and associated microbes. Predicting nutrient availability and tradeoffs between mineralization and assimilation processes are important questions my research group and collaborators address in organic and sustainable production systems. To foster outreach and education on soil ecological management I coordinate a website at MSU on applied soil ecology I am committed to participatory research and extension approaches with iterative feedback from stakeholders. To this end, I developed the mother and baby trial design to link long-term research trials systematically with on-farm experimentation. Collaborations across social and biological scientists are essential in a rapidly changing world, and I work closely with multidisciplinary teams including scientists, farmers, students, advisors and extension educators to foster farmer innovation and build more sustainable, environmentally-friendly cropping systems. The participatory research methods and on-farm research trial designs I work on have been adopted by agronomists and plant breeders in 16 countries in Africa, Southeast Asia and in Paraguay. Teaching interests include developing a new course with Dr. Phil Robertson addressing Soil Biology CSS 360 and contributing cropping systems and participatory research methodology lectures in CSS and courses such as ANP859, a core requirement of the new Gender, Justice and Environment Graduate specialization. As a core faculty member of African Studies and the Women in International Development program I am committed to education and scholarship in area studies and international development, including promoting south-south linkages and extending the agro-ecology lessons of the field crop LTER to Southern Africa and West Africa