College of Agriculture

Richard Rosecrance


Personal Information

I grew up in Newbury Park, California, went to Cornell University for a BS degree in agronomy. After receiving a BS degree, I worked in highlands of Nepal for the Peace Corps on a sustainable agriculture development project. I lived in a small town, a five-day walk from the nearest road at the base of Mount Everest. I served for three years in this isolated province with few resources and virtually no disposable income among its residents. It was, needless to say, quite an eye-opening experience for a 23-year old.

Following Peace Corps, I worked at the University of the South Pacific in Alafua, Western Samoa as an agroforestry researcher and lecturer. In 1990, I received an MS degree in horticulture from the University of Hawaii. I earned a PhD in agricultural plant ecology from University of California, Davis in 1996. I did a two year post doc at UC Davis and USDA, Beltsville, MD before joining the College of Agriculture at California State University, Chico in 1998. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, biking, rock climbing, and traveling.


My teaching philosophy is focused on helping students learn how to learn. I like students to think of me as a facilitator, and I dislike the word "instructor" -- it suggests that knowledge can be unilaterally imparted—an empty vessel to be filled. On the contrary, education is cooperation between teacher and students, who must be respected as adults and expected to act accordingly. I regard all students as discoverers of new facts, rather than as receptacles for memorizing previously developed knowledge. I’ve taught classes in the plant sciences in a wide variety of subjects both at CSU, Chico and abroad. My courses include

  • PSSC 366 - Fruit and Nut production
  • AGRI 331 - Agricultural Ecology
  • PSSC 305 - Introduction to Wines
  • PSSC 101 - Introduction to Plant Science
  • AGRI 490/491 - Agriculture Research Methods

Research and Professional Interests

My expertise has been in fruit tree physiology and plant mineral nutrition. My research has focused on topics which impact fruit tree productivity including tree usage of essential mineral nutrients, efficient use of fertilizer nitrogen, cover cropping, and pollination biology in fruit and nut species, i.e., olive, avocado, almond, pistachio, prune, and walnut. I received a Fulbright in 2004 to work at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa on fruit tree nutrition. I also taught classes in plant propagation and plant mineral nutrition in South Africa.

Portrait of Richard Rosecrance