I have been in my new role as dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences for a few weeks now. I am approaching the halfway mark on my “first hundred days plan” that is designed to have me meet many of the members of the College’s community–on campus and across the state.
I have visited several of our branch experiment stations where I have appreciated meetings with advisory groups, enjoyed attending field days, and learned about the ongoing work at the stations. I have met with faculty and staff of several of our academic departments where I have learned about the exciting work they are doing, their plans for the future, and the challenges they face. I have met with state and federal legislators and been introduced to legislative committees in Salem. I have also had the opportunity to meet individually with a number of our stakeholders and hear their stories. And there have been conversations with several of our industry groups and their representatives. Finally, I have had many opportunities to interact with our students. It has been an exciting and energizing few weeks!
Through these first few weeks, I have been reminded of key themes relevant to the College. One of these key themes is the amazing diversity of our food, agriculture, and natural resource enterprises in the state. Collectively, we take advantage of the many different climate zones and growing regions that make up our state to produce an incredible variety of foods, fibers, and other products.
I have also had the opportunity to gain an even greater appreciation of the faculty we have in the College and the importance of the work they do. Our faculty do work that is relevant, that is cutting edge, and that makes a difference. I have also been impressed with the students I have met, including their commitment to their studies, but also their engagement in activities outside the classroom.
It has been a pleasure to be welcomed into the network of stakeholders who interact with the College. From growers and producers to natural resource managers to policy makers to educators, it is clear that people in many different settings depend on the College to conduct research and provide objective analysis of information that is relevant to our collective economic, environmental, and community sustainability.
Another theme that comes through loud and clear is that resources matter. Over the past several years, fewer dollars have meant fewer people available to carry out the mission of the College. And this shortfall has consequences for all members of the College’s community. We will, of course, continue efforts to broaden the base of our support while working to stabilize and enhance our traditional sources of support. Towards that end, we already are engaged in the process to build the state budget for the next biennium (July 2013-June 2015).
Reub Long Professor and Dean
Director, Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station
College of Agricultural Sciences
126 Strand Agriculture Hall
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331