Feed on

I hope that you had time to catch up or perhaps even get some rest and relaxation in during Spring Break. The Blog took an extended break too, skipping the February edition (not that anyone noticed!), but is now ready to get back to work. This edition highlights some of the changes we will see in 2014 as we implement the CANR Master Plan. First a little levity:

Q: How many faculty members does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Change, who said anything about change?

I was reminded of this old joke while reading some excerpts from Larry Nielson’s book, Provost: Experiences, reflections and advice from a former ‘number two’ on campus. Larry is one of the funniest academics that I’ve ever met. The book is worth a read. He quips about the “glacial” pace of change that exists at many universities, and, on a more somber note, how this reluctance to change keeps us from reaching our goals in higher education. So, I’d like us to consider stepping up our game in 2014 and making some needed changes. Don’t worry, we won’t make the jump to light speed, but we will get out of second gear and get closer to cruising as the year unfolds.

    1. College Master Plan Implementation. Last December, I gave you a homework assignment – tothink about Action Plans that derive from the Master Plan – each with concrete, measurable action items against which we can measure progress toward our stated goals. This involves answering the “how” and “when” questions that evolved from the “what” and “why” ideas that went into the Master Plan. During annual evaluations last month, I began to collect Action Plans from each unit leader, to be implemented starting no later than FY15 (some have started already). We’re using a format taken from another book that I recommend: The 4 Disciplines of Execution, by McChesney, Covey and Huling (Free Press, 2012). The first discipline is focus; they cite a number of examples of strategic change failing in organizations that try to do too many things at once. Their advice is to focus on ONE “wildly important goal,” or WIG – something that will move you forward more than anything else and throw everything you’ve got toward its execution. So, if you don’t know the details of your unit’s WIG, ask your unit leader to articulate it for you. Some of these need additional work, and some units have not yet finished, but here’s what we’ve got so far (in no particular order):
      • ENWC – Improve professional development for graduate students
      • APEC – Enhance faculty mentoring
      • Communications – Increase visibility of CANR via a college-wide communications committee designed to help uncover national/regional story ideas
      • PLSC – Build a new undergraduate major in genetics and genomics and grow enrollment
      • Grants Administration – Build a standardized policy and procedures manual for grants and contracts college-wide
      • Business Office – Improve the execution of HR issues in the College by developing guidelines and training
      • Undergraduate Student Services – Increase enrollment through better recruiting information
      • Facilities – Address deferred maintenance issues in the College
      • Deputy Dean – Develop the College’s “One Health” initiative with CHS
      • Carvel Center – Increase the contribution of the Carvel Center to teaching, student recruitment and engagement
      • Extension (two WIG’s!) – Implement the Planning and Reporting System, and build capacity in human health in Extension
      • Dean (two WIG’s) – Execute a strategy for Worrilow Hall renovations, and implement cost recovery college-wide

All WIGs will be in place by 1 July 2014 (some are underway now). Again, you should know not only your unit’s WIG, but the performance measures that will allow you to track progress toward its execution (called lags and leads). It will take effort from everyone to accomplish these goals, so please think about your role in moving the College forward.

  1. Changes to the CANR web site. I hope you have all taken the opportunity to view the new college web site: http://canr.udel.edu/. New CANR websiteWe’ve made a lot of changes to the look, feel, navigation, and, importantly, editing capabilities to give it a wow-factor and make it more intuitive and functional. Please remember that the site was designed with prospective students and their parents in mind, as we know the web is the #1 way that students find out about the College. I thank Nancy Gainer and her team for getting the new site up in time for Decision Days – undergraduate enrollment is absolutely critical to our future.
  2. The College Bylaws need change. The Bylaws were last revised in May 2006 and a lot has changed since that time. To me, the most striking aspect is that there is no mention of Cooperative Extension throughout the document, yet this is clearly a major mission area for the College. We will discuss the Bylaws in more detail at the Spring Semester Faculty Meeting, which is May 20th at 9:30 am in 132 TNS. Tom Sims has appointed an ad hoc committee to revise the Bylaws: Eric Benson, Carmine Balascio, Steve Hastings, Corey Whaley and Greg Shriver. Please direct your feedback to this group.
  3. Cost Recovery. Another item on the Spring Faculty Meeting agenda will be cost recovery. Beginning in FY15, we will be instituting usage fees for animals and cropland on our farms in order to recover some of the costs associated with their support. We simply can no longer make up the deficit between farm expenses and income from operating funds; the deficit is about $800,000 to $1M on the Newark Farm alone. As stated in the Master Plan, this will allow us to free operating funds for deferred maintenance and renovations needed to keep the College’s infrastructure intact. Another aspect of cost recovery is including a small amount of graduate tuition on grants. The College waives well over $3.5M per year in tuition, and even if we recovered only a fraction of that amount on grants, we would easily double or triple the amount of funds available for deferred maintenance and strategic initiatives. Some of you are doing this already – and thank you – but we need everyone to get involved to have an impact.
  4. Changes in faculty and staff. We have several ongoing searches and have welcomed a few new faces to the College in early 2014.
    • Business Officer – Following Katie Hutton’s retirement, Kawkab Rasheed has taken on the role of “CFO” for the College. Kawkab came from the Budget Office in Hullihen, so she has lots of insight and background on financial affairs at UD. She is off to a great start in her new role.
    • Extension. Cooperative Extension has seen a number of changes in 2014. Dan Severson is now on board as the Ag Agent in New Castle County. In Sussex County, Jill Jackson has filled the position of 4-H Coordinator vacated following Mary Argo’s retirement and passing. Rene Diaz has joined CANR to take on the Sussex County after school programs, and Lindsay Hughes has moved into the BOTVIN grant position. Finally, Karen Johnston has assumed a new role as grant manager for 4-H. Lots o’ change!
    • Urban Forestry – PLSC has completed interviews for their Urban Forestry professorship. I expect their recommendation any day now, so we should be able to announce the successful candidate soon.
    • Longwood Program Director – Also completed is a round of interviews to find the successor to Bob Lyons who directs the Longwood Graduate Program. The search committee is presently deliberating and should have a recommendation soon.
    • Statistics. APEC has conducted several interviews over the past few weeks in a three-position cluster hire effort to rebuild our capacity in statistics after a series of departures. More than 170 applicants were screened, of which 6 have been interviewed thus far; one interviewee has accepted an offer to join us. We are trying to find two additional candidates as this search winds down.
    • Landscape Design Instructor. The first of three candidates is being interviewed this week. We hope to have the position filled by the time fall classes begin.
    • Animal and Food Sciences Department Chair. A search committee, chaired by Jake Bowman, has just been convened to find the next chair of ANFS as Jack Gelb returns to the faculty this summer. Limin Kung will be interim chair of ANFS until the permanent candidate is seated. Both internal and external candidates will be considered.
  5. Adding faculty and staff awards. In FY15we’re bringing back the CANR Teaching Award and launching new college-wide awards for research, Extension, and staff. We have set aside funds from our annual giving account to fund awards for individuals who have had great impact on teaching, research, Extension, and support. You could be the next recipient! Awards in each category will be made in alternate years, staggered so that we have awards given each year. The awardees will join the platform party at commencement to be recognized, and will each receive a cash award of a few thousand dollars. Details on eligibility, selection criteria, etc. are forthcoming.
  6. Changes to the Townsend Commons. As you know, we received a Unidel grant last December to revitalize the Townsend Commons area and renovate two classrooms. Nancy Gainer is chairing a group of people who are envisioning a more vibrant, attractive, functional Commons (feel free to provide input to the group). They have held focus groups with students to determine what changes would be most beneficial in both the Commons and the classrooms. No matter what, next year’s incoming class will find themselves in much better teaching facilities.

The Blog will be back in early summer. In the meantime, I hope that all goes well as you wind down the semester, ramp up the field season (or perhaps both!), and make changes that keep you at your very best.


Dean’s Blog
December 19, 2013
Holiday Edition



As the holidays draw near, I am reminded how thankful I should be for many things, both personal and professional. So, in this edition of the Dean’s Blog, let me count the ways………..

  1. College Master Plan. I am VERY thankful that our strategic planning process is coming to a close! Last year at this time, I gave you some homework to do over the holidays. I asked that you start the planning process by defining your unit’s unique strengths, and think about what we should be doing (and why) to position the College to be relevant and impactful well into the future. That has now been articulated in the CANR Master Plan, which has been favorably vetted at the CANR Advisory Board and Provost levels. This year’s homework involves thinking about Action Plans that will derive from the Master Plan – each with concrete, measurable action items against which we can measure progress toward our stated goals. Think of this as answering the “how” and “when” questions that evolved from the “what” and “why” ideas that went into the Master Plan. I’ll be collecting Action Plans from each unit during the spring, to be implemented starting no later than FY15. Think about prioritizing the goals stated in the Master Plan, and what foundational steps should be taken in FY15 to start moving down a new strategic path.

    Feedback on the Master Plan has thus far been good. The Provost Domenico Grasso likes it, and even suggested that another unit look at our plan before writing their own. Several external people have commented favorably on elements of the plan as being timely and necessary in today’s changing academic landscape. We spent three hours discussing the Master Plan with the CANR Advisory Board this week, and their comments were largely favorable. I am thankful to all of you for the input and hard work expended on the Master Plan during 2013.

  2. UD Strategic Planning. Speaking of plans, UD is starting to formulate the process for revision of the Path to Prominence under the direction of provost, who is new to UD. The plan will be organized around three main areas:

    • Intellectual Content
    • Intellectual Organization
    • Revisiting the P2P

    In the Intellectual Content piece, we will examine the grand challenges, great debates, and big ideas in tomorrow’s world, and how we contribute to their resolution. Entrepreneurship will be included. In the Intellectual Organization piece, we will examine our infrastructure and look for ways to optimize it. Universities have been organized the same way for centuries, and we’ll be looking for new approaches. Another big issue is cost containment, which we have echoed in the CANR Master Plan. Also related to organization is curriculum – both its construction and delivery. The third piece will be a reexamination of elements of the P2P, such as diversity, Delaware First, Impact, and so on. The idea is to build upon P2P, not scrap it and start over. An executive committee is being appointed presently to guide the process.

    All of this makes me thankful that we have gotten out in front of this by completing our Master Plan, and that the provost is supportive of it.

  3. Janine Sherrier – I am very, very thankful for having Janine Sherrier serve as acting deputy dean this past calendar year. To say that she “stepped up” at a time when the College needed her help would be a gross understatement. She managed to juggle her teaching and research programs, professional obligations, and all of the things that come to a deputy dean for an entire year. Most memorable for me will be the way she taught us to think well outside of the proverbial box, an invaluable contribution during a year of strategic planning. I can tell you with 100% confidence that there are few people more passionate about the future of our College than Janine Sherrier. So, as we welcome Tom Sims back to his role as deputy dean and welcome Janine back to PLSC full time in January, please take a minute to thank Janine for all of the contributions she made during 2013. She worked very hard on your behalf.

  4. Limin Kung. – As Jack Gelb steps away from the chair role next July, I am thankful that Limin Kung has accepted the position of interim chair in Animal and Food Sciences (ANFS). A few years back, Limin served in the interim role and did a great job, as he was highly recommended for the post again by his peers in the department and stakeholders outside the University. Jake Bowman will be chairing the search committee for the permanent chair of ANFS, and that work will commence on or before July 1, 2014 when Limin takes the helm.

  5. Position Search Update. I am quite thankful to everyone that has served or will be serving on one of many search committees for several positions that we have advertised currently. Here’s a brief update on ongoing searches, with more to come in 2014.

    • Business Officer – With Katie Hutton’s retirement date nearing, I am pleased to say that we’ve completed three interviews to find her replacement as of today. Lionel Gilbert, Amanda Minner, and Kawkab Rasheed – all internal to UD – interviewed over the past two weeks. I welcome your input on this important decision. Please provide your thoughts to me now or during the holiday break, as I’d like to make an offer to one of these candidates on January 2nd, 2014. Special thanks to Linda Somers (Lerner) for chairing that search.
    • Urban ForestryThanks to anonymous donors, we will be bringing five candidates to campus in January and February 2014 to fill an Urban Forestry professorship in PLSC. The candidates look great, and will be giving open seminars that I hope you will attend. Thanks to Bob Lyons for chairing the search.
    • Longwood Program Director - Speaking of Bob Lyons, he will be retiring in July 2014, so we have begun the search for his replacement with John Frett chairing (thanks, John), Doug Needham co-chairing (Longwood Education Director), and Kittleman and Associates doing the searching. Any suggestions you may have on potential candidates are welcome and should be sent to John Frett.
    • Statistics. With three vacancies in APEC occurring within about one year of each other, we launched a cluster hire for three faculty about two months ago. I am pleased to report that 130 applicants have applied for the positions, and the search committee is now in the throes of winnowing down the pool to a select few that will be interviewed. The idea is to try to find people who can complement each other and work collaboratively with other scientists across the College and University. Statistics, big data, and analytics are topics that cut across all of the science that we do, so please attend the seminars and provide input as these candidates come to campus later in the spring. Thanks to Tom Ilvento for chairing the search.
    • Landscape Design Instructor. We are seeking candidates for a non-tenure track position in landscape design to do teaching and advising. Thanks to Jules Bruck for chairing that search.
    • New Castle County Extension. Daniel Severson has been selected as the New Castle County Agricultural agent. He will begin his employment with extension on January 13. It is very exciting to fill this position that has been vacant for over 3 years! We are able to fill this position thanks to the state restoration of the budget line for extension.
  6. Worrilow Architectural Study. I am thankful that we were able to retain the services of Smithgroup, an architectural firm with extensive experience in laboratory design, particularly in the plant and animal sciences disciplines. They are studying the possibility of renovating Worrilow Hall to today’s research and teaching lab standards, and should produce a final report with possible designs and associated costs by February 2014. This does not mean that renovating Worrilow is our only path forward – it may turn out to be a poor decision based on their findings, and new construction might be a better option. There is a steering committee working with Smithgroup with representation from scientists in Worrilow, so funnel your suggestions through them – Nicole Donofrio, Rodrigo Vargas, Rolf Joerger, Mark Parcells, and Kali Kniel (Thanks, y’all!).

  7. Budget Deal in DC. I have to applaud the bipartisan effort to pass a federal budget this past week. This eliminates the possibility of another automatic sequester like we experienced last year, which cost us about a quarter of a million dollars. Still, there is an appropriations phase to this new budget bill, and great uncertainty regarding the Farm Bill, so we are not out of the woods yet. Light a candle, say a prayer, or make a wish over the holidays that we’ll get back to the FY12 NIFA budget as currently proposed. About 82% of our research expenditures come from federal sources, as does a big chunk of funding for Cooperative Extension.

  8. Poultry House Fire. I am extremely thankful that no one was injured and no animals were killed when one of our poultry research houses caught fire the first week of December. Apparently the structure was built in the 1930s, and upgraded in the 1980s, and though it is a loss, we probably got our money’s worth from it. I wonder how many papers were published and how many birds’ lives were saved as a result of the research done in that humble little building. We await an insurance settlement, which will not be enough to rebuild a new facility, but hope to find help from the industry that the facility served to build a new house in 2014.

  9. Unidel Grant Success. I am also extremely thankful for the funding of a $303,000 request entitled “Extending information technology-rich environments to south campus” by the Unidel Foundation. The funding will help us outfit two classrooms AND the Townsend Commons area with state-of-the-art tech and furniture to create student-friendly, high-tech learning spaces. Ideas are encouraged – Nancy Gainer and her crack IT staff are leading the effort and looking for input and a few volunteers to help design these spaces before the next crop of students arrive in Fall 2014.

Yes, there is a lot to be thankful for, and the above items are just highlights among many good things that have happened recently. But life is more important than work, and I hope that you’ll be thankful for, and make good use of, some much deserved time off with family and friends beginning next week.

Wishing you all the best this joyous season,


Photo by CANR photographer Danielle Quigley

The new school year is in full swing. I hope that you are enjoying the energy that new students have brought to campus and the first taste of fall weather that arrived last week. September is one of my favorite months of the year – it renews our commitment to students and reminds us all how fortunate we are to be working in academia. Whether you are beginning to shape the hearts and minds of the class of 2017, or closing out a wet and wild field season, I’d like to update you on some new things happening in the College.

New Faces. In September, we welcomed two new members of the CANR family – Nancy Gainer, our communications manager, and Victor Peguero, our grants administrator. As the year progresses, we’ll see even more new faces as we have several searches in the works. Faculty searches underway include Statistics, Urban Forestry, and the director of the Longwood Graduate Program, as well as a few additional searches in planning stages. Cooperative Extension has launched searches for professionals in New Castle and Sussex counties thanks in part to a restoration of state funding. We are also organizing a search committee for the next chair of Animal and Food Sciences. All of us can play a role in beating the proverbial bushes to find the best candidates, so please use your network to get the word out. We must endeavor to hire the best candidate, not simply the best candidate in the pool.

New Provost. Dr. Domenico Grasso began his role as the academic leader of the University of Delaware in August. An environmental engineer by training, he has held several positions including department head, dean, and vice president for research. He brings immense experience and a fresh perspective to UD. In the coming academic year, we will see a master plan for the University and a revision to The Path to Prominence under his leadership, among other items. Dr. Grasso will speak at the CANR Fall Faculty Meeting at 9:30 a.m. on December 5, 2013, so please join me in welcoming him to the college at that event.

New Seed Grant RFP Out. I thank Acting Deputy Dean Sherrier for yeoman’s work in developing a new CANR Seed Grant program to stimulate new ideas in teaching, research and extension. We have allocated $200,000 for grants up to $40,000 each to seed projects that have high potential to lead to future funding. The deliverable is a major grant proposal based on the seed project. If you have any questions on the program, please contact Janine.

New Computer Refreshment Program. We are reinstating a computer refreshment program this year with $75,000 being divided across units. Funds will be distributed to unit leaders, who will then make allocations within the unit. Funds permitting, we will continue this program in future years since computers are essential to virtually all that we do.

New Website to be Developed. We have contracted with 2 Fish, a web design firm from Wilmington, to redesign our College web site. They have met with a steering committee assigned to the task and will soon have some mock-ups of a new site for our comment and feedback. The main page will be primarily focused on appealing to prospective students, but the navigation will be designed so that one can easily find research and extension topics and program-level pages. One important point – once the site is redesigned, it’s up to us to keep it current and impactful. I have noticed a few pages here and there that were last updated in 2009 (!).Our communications team will take the lead on managing the site, and each department has selected a point person as a liaison to the team. Our Webmaster Christy Mannering tells me that the WordPress format of the new site will greatly facilitate content management, so please do your part to keep pages fresh.

New Partnerships. Last Thursday, September 19, we sent a contingent of faculty to the first Delmarva Land Grant Summit, which was held in Dover. Attending were faculty and deans from the 1862 and 1890 Land Grant colleges of agriculture and related sciences of the three Delmarva states. Also attending were Director of NIFA Sonny Ramaswamy, several program leaders from NIFA, and Secretary Ed Kee of Delaware Department of Agriculture. We looked at ongoing successful collaborations and discussed ideas for future collaboration on agriculture and natural resources issues among the six institutions. Notably, the six deans agreed to put their money where their mouth is and commit $120,000 ($20,000 from each institution) as a seed grant fund to help foster collaboration across institution lines. We are pulling together a group to develop an RFP for the seed grant funds and plan to launch the program next summer. I hope that many of you will seek out colleagues among these partner institutions and apply to the program.

Master Plan Drafted. I am drowning in Master Plan comments and changes currently, but the water has never felt so good! I am thankful for the thoughtful input from unit leaders and others who have read the first drafts. I have several more meetings with unit leaders, and therefore several more edits to do, but as one person commented, it is starting to feel like the future. I am also finding good alignment between the Master Plan and the Path to Prominence and the NIFA Strategic plans. I believe it will be ready to share with all of you soon, though we are still awaiting stakeholder input from some units and feedback from the Academic Program Reviews in ANFS and PLSC. One of the centerpieces of the plan is defining our unique strengths – the areas of selective excellence we need to pursue to be relevant and impactful in the future. At the last President’s Roundtable meeting, I was pleased to hear President Harker ask the question, “What are our unique strengths?” as he was laying out the timeline and context of the Path to Prominence version 2.0 that UD will undertake in 2014. I hope you will take some time to read and comment upon the Master Plan draft when it comes your way.

Worrilow Award. I am pleased to announce that Robin Talley, a 1984 graduate from our College, has been honored with the Worrilow Award for excellence in service to agriculture among CANR alumni. Robin Received a BS in Agricultural Economics that year and went on to obtain an MBA from UD in 1996. She currently serves as State Director for the Farm Service Agency (FSA). We will honor her and our other distinguished alumni awardees – John Cantello, Zaiqi Pan, and Bernard Murphy – on October 11 at 11 a.m. in the Townsend Commons as part of Homecoming Week festivities.

Worrilow Hall. Speaking of Worrilow, we have invited applications from architectural firms to bid on a plan for repairing and renovating Worrilow Hall. The successful firm will develop a plan over the next few months that will provide a vision of a more flexible, functional Worrilow Hall. A concrete plan will help us as we attempt to raise the funds needed for renovations. One of the first steps in such a plan is to survey the residents of Worrilow for input, so please be on the lookout for a web-based survey (and don’t delete it!). Your input is critical, and will be shared in a town hall meeting later in the planning process. I have said many times that the condition of Worrilow Hall is the single greatest obstacle on our road to a brighter future, as so much of our science and teaching depends on that facility. Please be sure to contact the architects and/or steering committee with your ideas; funnel your input through Jenny McDermott, our Facilities Manager.

Best wishes for a fantastic fall semester!

Summer Salutations!

dean-riegerI can’t believe it’s July already, and that next month I will celebrate my one-year anniversary as a Blue Hen! I am thankful for all of the experiences in this first year, and eager to launch into the upcoming academic year.

As we look back on the spring semester in the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, there have been many wonderful stories of success. First and foremost are the stories of our talented class of 2013 graduates. In late May, we celebrated their accomplishments and future at our convocation and commencement exercises. We celebrated students like Melanie Allen, recipient of the Emalea Pusey Warner and Alexander J. Taylor Sr. award as the outstanding woman of the graduating class, as well as Jacquelyn Marchese and Michelle Windle, the recipients of the 2013 William J. Benton Graduate Student Awards.

While we are sad to see our graduates leave, we look with great excitement on the incoming class of 2017. One of our goals in the College is to raise undergraduate enrollment at least 15% by 2015 and with this incoming class we are well on our way to doing so. So far, we have logged commitments from over 180 new students for Fall 2013, about 11% more than Fall 2012, with 21 honors students compared to 19 last year – one of our highest enrollments in years.

With a larger population on campus comes the need for more dollars in support of students, faculty and programs. Fiscal year 2013 was a strong year for fundraising, and I am pleased to report that the college raised over $6.8 million dollars in gifts and pledges – eclipsing a college-wide goal of $4.8 million by over 40%. This total included two commitments of $1 million and a generous planned gift estimated at $2 million. This overwhelming display of generosity enables us to continue to provide scholarships (merit based and need based) for students, maintain our wonderful outdoor learning labs like the Botanic Gardens and the UD Farm, add resources to burgeoning projects like the UDairy Creamery, and attract and retain renowned faculty who are truly changing the landscape of agriculture and natural resources through their research and teaching. Faculty like Limin Kung, the S. Hallock du Pont Professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, who is one of the leading experts on silage in the United States and has maintained close ties with 3 different Brazilian Universities for the past 10 years. Or like Don Sparks, the S. Hallock du Pont Chair in Soil and Environmental Chemistry at the University of Delaware, who has been appointed to a three-year term as chair of the U.S. National Committee for Soil Science (USNC/SS).

Our alumni are also day-to-day examples of the teaching and preparedness we offer at UD. In June, we were proud to congratulate W. Edwin Kee Jr. ’73 ’75M ’96M, Secretary of Agriculture for the state of Delaware, for his induction into the 2013 University of Delaware Alumni Association’s Alumni Wall of Fame.

As I hope you will read, the entire University is amidst a period of great growth. We are truly excited to share our progress and plans with you, and I hope you read this latest newsletter with great excitement and offer your feedback. Have a wonderful remainder of the summer.

Go Hens!

~Mark Rieger, Dean

Ice Cream Truck

ice-cream-truck-moo-mobileThanks to a partnership between CANR and the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, the UDairy Creamery will now be equipped with an ice cream truck, allowing for students from UD to get hands-on experience with a real-world business.

Keep an eye out for the Creamery Truck all next week at the State Fair!

Read more on UDaily.

Equine Science Gift

equineThis winter the College received a transformational gift from Stuart M. and Suzanne B. Grant of Greenville, Del., to develop and support an Equine Studies Program. The Grants’ support will create an equine studies minor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences that will be available to UD students.

Read more on UDaily.

Veterinary Graduates

vet-graduatesIn 2009, 14 students from the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources were accepted into veterinary schools. This past year, 10 of those students finished up their studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Those students talked about how their time at CANR helped prepare them for a career in veterinary sciences.

Read more on UDaily.

Largest Crowd ever for Ag Day

ag-dayBeautiful weather, great entertainment and a variety of agricultural and environmental exhibits combined to make Ag Day 2013 the largest in history, with more than 8,000 visitors in attendance. Thank you so much for everyone who attended as well as all of those who helped with the planning and preparation of the event.

Click here to read more about Ag Day 2013.

Doug Tallamy Garden Club of America honor

doug-tallamyDoug Tallamy, chair of the University of Delaware’s  Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, was recently awarded with the Garden Club of America’s Margaret Douglas Medal for notable service to the cause of conservation education.

Tallamy, a proponent of the use of native plants in gardening, received the medal during an award reception held in Philadelphia.

Read more on UDaily.

CANR at the Philadelphia Flower Show

flower-showCANR was well represented at the 2013 Philadelphia International Flower Show held in March. In addition to having an interdisciplinary class led by professor Jules Bruck present their design at the flower show, CANR graduate Sam Lemheney, who graduated in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in plant science, serves as the Director of the Philadelphia Flower Show.

Click here to read more about Lemheney and click here to read more about the interdisciplinary class’ display.

Happy New Year fellow Blue Hens!

Mark Rieger, Dean

Mark Rieger, Dean

I  am thankful to enter a new year, be the new dean, and communicate with you in a new way. Indeed there are a lot of new and exciting things going on in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. I hope you will find this electronic newsletter - Food for Thought - worthwhile and informative. We intend to bring it to you several times per year to keep you up to date on our accomplishments, events, challenges and opportunities. Importantly, the electronic format allows you to provide feedback on various issues, or simply update us on new things in your life and work. We’d love to hear from you!

We are embarking on a college-wide master planning process, evaluating our core strengths and looking for ways that we can have greater impact on agriculture and natural resource issues that face Delaware and the world. As part of the master plan, we intend to grow enrollment to meet the demand for agriculture and natural resource professionals; studies show that there are almost two jobs for every graduate in the agriculture and natural resource sectors of the economy. The good news is that applications for admission to the college are up 26% compared to last year, so we’re off to a great start! For more on this topic, read the “Enrollment Outlook” story below.

We will also be examining our research and extension priorities as we build the master plan. Gone are the days when our college can do a little of everything. We are working to identify areas of selective excellence and focus our efforts on the most relevant issues to our region, and working with our neighbors at Rutgers, Maryland, Delaware State University, and Penn State to build synergy and avoid redundancy. As an example, see the story on Extension’s response to Hurricane Sandy and learn how people turned to us for information on preparation and mitigation of damage from this disastrous event.

I hope you’ll enjoy the stories in this issue of Food for Thought and remain engaged with us as we plan for the future. I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you to put a few dates on your calendar. Delaware Ag Week is this week (Jan. 14-18), culminating in a Friends of Ag Breakfast highlighting the President of the National Chicken Council.  Our college’s annual Ag Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 27, and UD’s Alumni Weekend will be May 31-June 2. All of these events will be firsts for me, and I look forward to meeting you at one or more of them.

~Mark Rieger, Dean

You can view the actual email message by clicking here, or select from the content below.

Q&A with Denise Lasher, daughter of Dr. Hiram Lasher

The College of Agriculture & Natural Resources recently spoke with Denise Lasher (AG ‘77), daughter of Dr. Hiram Lasher—a generous benefactor to the University of Delaware and a pioneer in avian vaccine development, who passed away in October 2012 at the age of 92. The family of Dr. Lasher established the “Hiram Lasher Fellowship Award,” benefiting graduate students pursuing studies in poultry health at UD.  View the full interview with Denise here. 

New Director of Development

Daniel Sarkissian

Daniel Sarkissian, CANR Director of Development

CANR is pleased to welcome Daniel Sarkissian as our new Director of Development. Dan has been with the University for nearly 3 years and has done impressive work during his time with the College of Engineering as Associate Director of Development, showing great initiative in securing major gifts from individuals for the ISE Lab and scholarships. Dan can be reached at djs@udel.edu or (302) 831-4595.

Thurman Adams Jr. Agricultural Research Farm

This past spring, the UD Board of Trustees announced the renaming of CANR’s Agricultural Research Farm in Georgetown, DE for the late Senator Thurman Adams, in honor of his tireless efforts to secure funding and support for its facilities and programs.

View a video about Senator Adams and his contributions to UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources on the CANR YouTube channel or visit view the online photo album from the official dedication and sign unveiling in October 2012.

Alumni of Distinction

2012 CANR Distinguished Alumni

2012 CANR Distinguished Alumni

Seven CANR graduates were honored for their professional achievements at our annual Distinguished Alumni ceremony on Friday, Oct. 19.  Bruce Cobb (AG ’84), Carol Long (AG ’90), Daral Jackwood (AG ’78), and Mark Jackwood (AG ’78, MS ’82) were honored with Distinguished Alumni awards.  Jennifer McEntire (AG ’99) and Jennifer Walls (AG ’01) were named Distinguished Young Alumni.  In addition, the George M. Worrilow Award was presented to Ronald Ritter (AG ’75).

Read more about the accomplishments of these alumni.

Enrollment Outlook

Nationwide, agriculture and related industries produce about 54,000 new jobs annually; however, there are only about 29,000 graduates from colleges like ours to fill those positions.  That’s almost a 2:1 ratio of jobs to graduates–well paying jobs, as starting salaries for our graduates are above the median starting salary for college graduates.  This presents an opportunity for UD, where we can grow our enrollment and step up degree production to both help place students into jobs immediately upon graduation, and help the industries whose missions we support.

Read the USDA report.

Dr. Meyers Honored

Dr. Blake Meyers AAAS Fellow

Dr. Blake Meyers, AAAS Fellow

Blake Meyers, chair of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and the Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Designation as a fellow of AAAS is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers.  Meyers received the award in large part because of his contributions to bioinformatics and plant functional genomics of model and crop plants, especially in the area of small RNA biology.

Read more on UDaily.

Extension’s Web Presence and Hurricane Sandy

On October 5, Extension launched its new web presence.  In the first six weeks of the site’s existence, 32,516 people visited the site, resulting in 66,745 page views.  82.75% of these hits were from new visitors. The site’s news features and subsequent posting to social media connected constituents with resources during Hurricane Sandy about livestock preparations, food safety during and after power outages, salt water inundation in fields, landscape cleanup, and talking to children about natural disasters.

Visit the new Extension website or view the hurricane related posts.

2012 Messenger and Annual ReportThe newest issue of the UD Messenger is now available online; print copies will be mailed to alumni, parents and friends in early January. In addition, UD’s annual report is also available online and will be mailed along with the Messenger. Specifically, we’d like to draw your attention to the following articles in the UD Messenger that highlight CANR:

Be sure to read through the entire online or print version to learn more about University initiatives, like the STAR Campus and ISE Lab that will also impact CANR.

UD Research MagazineThe latest issue of the University of Delaware’s Research Magazine highlights UD’s work in the area of sea level rise, along with spotlighting a variety of other research accomplishments from across campus. We would especially like to draw your attention to the following articles from the magazine that highlight work from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources: