Each summer, at the request of the provost, the College prepares an annual report that summarizes the activities of our students, faculty, and staff during the previous year. That report is yours here. I think you will enjoy reading about the many accomplishments of the members of the College. We limited ourselves to ten pages, which meant we could choose only a few examples among all the remarkable work going on in the College all the time. But within those examples, you will gain a sense of the breadth and diversity of the activities that fall within our mission. Our research programs go from the most basic to the most applied, deal with all classes of life (including viruses, plants, and humans!), and include projects studying oceans, croplands, deserts, mountains, rivers, and soils. I want to share with you a few of my own observations and a few “points of pride” from our report.
You may have heard that student numbers at OSU continue to grow. This fall, OSU enrolled more than 26,000 students! But what can get lost in those large numbers is the impact on the College of Agricultural Sciences. Among the colleges with undergraduate programs, we are typically among the smaller in terms of student numbers. Nonetheless, we are experiencing dramatic growth in those programs. From the 2000-2001 academic year to 2009-2010, our undergraduate student numbers averaged slightly more than 1,100 students. Last academic year (2011-2012), we enrolled 1,793 undergraduate students, a 48 percent increase from 2009-2010! Part of that increase is driven by students’ desires to provide food, fuel, and fiber for a growing world population. Another driver is the realization by more and more students that our programs lead to productive careers where jobs continue to be available.
A point of pride for the University is our success with external grants. Last year, OSU researchers brought in $281 million in grants and contracts. Within the College, we were responsible for more than $53 million of that total, the highest amount for any single college. For three years in a row, our professors and their teams have earned more than $50 million in grants and contracts. Most of these grants come from federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Institutes of Health. What many people do not realize is that within the competitive process in which these grants are awarded, for most agencies only about one in ten proposals is funded. Within that context, the success of our scientists is even more impressive! And, of course, it is those grant dollars that help support our continuous search for new knowledge, that provide solutions for local and global challenges, and that allow us to maintain our emphasis on academic excellence.
As you explore our annual report, under the heading Student engagement and success, you may read more about the quality of our students and the innovative educational programs we are making available for them. Under the heading Living sustainably within the framework of natural systems, you can learn about research programs dealing with marine productivity, bioenergy development, grazing, and irrigation. Similarly, under the heading Living to ensure health, wellness, and quality of life, you will read about the role energy balance and barley can play in improving human health. And if you are interested in our impacts on economic and social well being, you may read about how climate change will influence cropping decisions and how new hazelnut varieties helped save an industry. As you read these reports, I am confident you will share my sense of pride in the accomplishments of all the members of the College of Agricultural Sciences.
Dan J. Arp
Reub Long Professor and Dean
Director, Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station
College of Agricultural Sciences