The five-year professorships come with a total of $75,000 in flexible funds, including $50,000 from the university’s Vilas Trust and $25,000 provided by CALS, specifically from a UW Foundation account established by Douglas and Juanita Sorenson. The funds can be used for books, research travel, supplies or similar expenses incurred in pursuit of scholarly activity. After the professorships end, McManus can keep the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor title for the duration of her UW-Madison career.
McManus leads an internationally regarded extension and research program on microbial diseases of fruits, including apple, cranberry and tart cherry. She has published numerous journal articles and extension publications on the effects of such diseases on plant anatomy and physiology and the optimization of disease management. The research and extension components of her program are integrated to draw problems from the field into research and to translate the resulting findings into practical management strategies. In keeping with this approach, she is known for her willingness to work with individual growers to define and address problems.
McManus joined the UW-Madison faculty in 1995. She was awarded the CALS Pound Award for Excellence in Extension in 2002 and was appointed Vaughan-Bascom Professor of Plant Pathology in 2009. She has served on numerous CALS, University and national committees including the Biological Sciences Division Tenure Committee and CALS Academic Planning Council.