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New Year, New Opportunities, New Challenges

Posted by: | January 20, 2011 | No Comment |

2011—start of the second decade of the millennium. This New Year brings with it—for our College—anticipation, along with trepidation.

Anticipation, because our College’s enrollment is at an all time high—more than 2,000 students, the result of a 25% increase in enrollment. Enrollments have increased across the board in our undergraduate majors, but particularly so in Animal Science, Fisheries and Wildlife, and Food Science and Technology. Similarly, enrollments are up in our graduate programs and amongst students from under-represented groups. These are all good and exciting, but there is trepidation—the result of concerns about not having enough faculty to teach the courses, space challenges, and the need for scholarships and other forms of financial support for many of the students.

Anticipation, because we are deploying new approaches to enhance student success, such as the expectation that every student in every major have experiential learning opportunities in the form of internships and externships, research and Extension experiences, study abroad, and the Leadership Academy. Trepidation, because deploying these new approaches needs to be done in a way that they indeed enhance student learning and success.

Anticipation, because our extramural grants are way up. In just the first six months of this current academic/fiscal year, our faculty and staff have received over $36 million in external grants—at this pace, we should shatter in FY 2011 the record $55 million received in for the entire FY 2010. Trepidation, because conversations at the Federal level are pointing to significant cutbacks in discretionary funding that provides funds to federal agencies that are the source of many of our grants.

Anticipation, because the generosity of our alumni and friends has allowed us to attain and, indeed, surpass our goal in the Campaign for OSU. Thus far we have raised over $50 million in the form of scholarships, faculty endowments, funds for facilities and infrastructure, and general support. This generosity has enabled us to attain preeminence and provide much needed scholarships for our students, many of whom need the financial help. Trepidation, because our Campaign Extension goal—for enabling student success and faculty excellence—is $85 million, leaving us two years to raise an additional $35 million.

Anticipation, because we have spent the last year in developing a plan to restructure our College, including merger of some units, revamping curricula and majors, new approaches to seek alternative sources of funding, and greater integration in our mission areas of research, Extension, and teaching. Trepidation, about execution of these plans, and the potential for the continued softness in the State’s economy that could derail the best laid plans.

In general, however, we are excited that our faculty, staff, and students will continue to attain preeminence in everything we do. We are excited because of the opportunities for external grant support from not just Federal agencies, but the untapped potential for support from corporate partners, international organizations, and various foundations. We are excited that our friends and alumni will step up with their generosity in donating to our College, because of their passion to enable student success and faculty excellence.

The winter issue of The Source provides stories of preeminence and the anticipation of achieving greatness.

Happy New Year.

Ciao,

Sonny Ramaswamy

Dean and Reub Long Professor

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