Message from the Dean - Fall 2015

Bill Payne, Dean of CABNR

The fall semester is already more than halfway over, and has seen continued growth in terms of student enrollment, faculty positions, and course offerings. Undergraduate enrollment within the college grew 4.3%, with especially high growth in the programs of Biotechnology, Agricultural Science, Environmental Science, and Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation. CABNR has once again set a new record for total undergraduate/graduate enrollment. Less than a year ago I wrote in our winter 2014 newsletter that we had just added eleven faculty positions. Since then, we have recruited eight more positions in nutrition, agriculture science, business economics, agronomy, entomology, horticulture, and meat science. Moreover we have initiated a search for a new faculty position in veterinary science and another new search will begin very soon for chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

It gets even better. We were just accorded nine new positions over the next four years as part of our new Sustainable Dryland Agriculture cluster. We have launched searches for three of these positions including positions in beef production, remote sensing and plant stress signaling. The chair position in biochemistry will be linked to two subsequent searches in health-related biochemistry. Finally, as you will learn in this newsletter, we will receive the largest gift in CABNR history to fund two additional endowed positions in Diet and Disease Prevention and Meat Science.

More faculty positions mean many things, including more course choices and degree specialties for students. I remind our readers that it has been widely reported that degrees in agriculture, nutrition, biotechnology, and natural resources are today among the most sought after and high paying. It is important that our students have access to a full array of courses to help them prepare for meaningful careers that empower them to succeed in today’s economy.

More positions also enable us to better reach out to traditional and newer stakeholders. For example, our new positions in horticulture, agronomy, meat science, and beef production will allow us to better connect with and support agricultural producers in ways that have not been possible for many years. This year’s Outstanding Agriculturalist Award, given to David Peri, is illustrative of this better connectivity.

I am very mindful that, with all the excitement about new faculty, staff, and students, we must not forget that CABNR is blessed with a great many dedicated people who are not so new. They are highly respected and appreciated for their many professional and community contributions, which have built and maintained our reputation for excellence. Therefore, in this issue, we highlight some of the outstanding individuals who received recognition this year.