Aside from parking, between now and 27 years ago when Dr. Dan Arp first arrived at Beaver Nation, much has changed. I had the pleasure of meeting with the College of Agricultural Sciences Dean, Dan Arp, to discuss experiences and happenings of both this past year and this upcoming year. In this one-on-one interview with Dean Arp, I got the inside scoop on how he overcame learning how to Tweet in 2016 and what changes he would like to see implemented in 2017.
We started the interview with a few basic “get to know you” questions and I came to find that this is Dr. Arp’s ninth year putting on the hat labeled “Dean.” Before coming to the College of Agricultural Sciences, Dean Arp served 4 years at the Dean of the Honor College. On May 1st of 2012, he became Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. When asked what he feels is a fitting short and concise description of his position he replied, “Very broadly: to further the mission of the College of Agricultural Sciences.” That mission deals with education, outreach, research and engagement and thus, he followed up that in his position he must always be “climbing the ladder of quality and impact.”
As many of us would assume, a Dean works with many groups of people including: staff, students and stakeholders. So when I asked Dean Arp, “What are your observations in regard to the academic college and student body?” his answer went far beyond strictly campus activity. Dean Arp touched first on the stakeholders of the college and admired the unwavering commitment they have to their work, the industry and the people they work with. He went on to speak of the faculty and their excellence that is recognized internally and nationally, “They are remarkable at what they do.” Lastly, he spoke to his observations of the “refreshing” student body.
As some of us may not have realized, Dean Arp doesn’t have the opportunity to interact “nearly enough” with students outside of the few organizations and councils he’s connected with, but has still noticed an increasingly active and engaged population. He says the students he does get to work with consistently possess a passion for their work, major and the world around them. Though he notices the greatness in all of this, Dean Arp still sees room for change.
In terms of the University as a whole, Dean Arp simply answered, “Inclusiveness” to the question: “If you could change one thing about our campus, what would it be and how would you change it?” He noted that though some areas are being improved on he feels there is still a part of the campus population, students and staff included, that does not always feel considered or included–specifically in the areas of socioeconomics and diversity of geographical backgrounds. Simply put he said at Beaver Nation, “everyone needs to feel like they are at home.”
In regard to the growth of the College of Agricultural Sciences we are entering our 150th year! Along with that celebration, there are also two initiatives that are in the works: Student Success and Quality Food and Beverage. The Student Success Initiative has two parts revolved around “what will make a difference?” The first part is aimed toward First Year Students and their system of thinking about experiential learning, specifically internships. The Initiative’s goal is to get First Year Students to begin thinking about future internships and positioning themselves early on to be a fit candidate for their ideal internship when their third, fourth or fifth year rolls around and it’s time to apply for it. The Second part of the Initiative is to increase scholarship support–this is being acted upon through reaching out to stakeholders and raising funds.
The other Initiative that is to be progressing with the College this upcoming year is the Quality Food and Beverage Initiative. The current stage of the Initiative is collecting funding for the three pilot plans: beer, wine and dairy products, primarily cheese. This Initiative would fund a facility to be built across from Oldfield Animal Teaching Facility on the Corvallis Campus. The new building would have inside of it a classroom(s), store to sell products such as our Beaver Classic Cheese, a laboratory, a distance classroom, temperature control spaces and a conference room. Though the product of this Initiative may not be visible for a few years, there is still much work going on behind the scenes to get this plan up and moving.
As you have read, there has been quite a bit of change that has been in the works over here at the University and even more foreseeable! It was a fun and unforgettable 2016 and we are looking forward to an even more engaging and exciting 2017. With the conclusion of my interview and this post, I had one last question for Dean Arp, “What is one thing you would like to say to the students, stakeholders, staff, alumni and fellow community members that will read this article?”
“I share your pride in the College of Agricultural Sciences. We have much to be proud of: the terrific students we have, the work our stakeholders do, the fabulous staff that really do the work of the college. I am incredibly proud of the work we all do.”
We wish you all success and a happy New Year!