On June 14, Oregon State University held its 144th Commencement. In the College of Agricultural Sciences, we celebrated the graduation of over 400 undergraduate and graduate students. Graduation is always an exciting time as students close one chapter in their lives and look forward to beginning a new chapter. It is a time for celebration, but it is also a time for reflection as students think back on the years of engagement, study, and hard work that brought them to this milestone in their lives. I enjoy the pomp and circumstance associated with graduation, and especially the feeling I get as the platform party enters the stadium at the completion of the graduation march, and see the thousands of students in full regalia seated on the field with their parents, relatives, and friends cheering them on from the stands. Congratulations to all our graduates who, as President Ed Ray often remarks, are our most important contributions to society.
The 2013 Regular Session of Oregon’s Seventy-Seventh Legislative Assembly adjourned July 8th. With that came clarity with respect to the state portions of our budget. The Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station and the OSU Extension Service, which together account for about 80% of our state funding, received an increase of 6.5% for the FY14-15 biennium relative to the FY12-13 biennium. After four years of declining budgets, these are relatively “good news” budgets. They should allow us to cover anticipated increases in costs during the FY14-15 biennium. They do not, however, return us to pre-recession levels of funding. The legislature also approved one-time funding for our molluscan broodstock program and a canola study, and recurring funding of $1.2 million (biennial) for fermentation sciences (“soil to market”) and additional funding for the State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Coordinator position. My thanks to all who participated in the legislative process this year. Our stakeholders were terrific supporters and participated throughout the process in various ways, including providing testimony and engaging in town hall meetings across the state. Thanks also to the legislators who make the tough decisions about where to allocate revenue that is never enough to go around.
Over the next few months, I will engage members of the College of Agricultural Sciences community, including staff and stakeholders, in a strategic intent process. We call this our “strategic intent” to distinguish it from a typical strategic plan. Our goal, succinctly stated, is to determine if the things we are at work on are “roughly right and directionally correct”. We recognize that the world in which we operate will continue to change in ways that we cannot always predict and that we must maintain flexibility to respond to change and opportunities. At the same time, it is important to reaffirm our shared goals and priorities. Our purpose is to determine what areas of research, teaching, and outreach we should emphasize in the next few years, such that we can address today’s problems while we also anticipate and prepare for change. The results of our efforts will guide how we invest our resources of time, energy, and funds in the next few years.
In this issue of The Source, you will find many stories that chronicle the activities of the College. I would like to draw your attention to one in particular in the Recent News section. A prominent university ranking service recently placed agriculture and forestry at OSU as #8 in the world! The ranking, which is based on evaluations by peers and the impact of our work, speaks to the excellence of the professors at OSU working in the areas of agriculture and forestry. I hope you share my pride in the exceptional faculty we have in the College.
Daniel J. Arp
Reub Long Professor and Dean
College of Agricultural Sciences
Director, Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station