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While we will surely miss George's leadership, I am pleased to welcome KEN ESBENSHADE as associate dean and director of academic programs, effective July 1. Ken has an outstanding track record in teaching, research, extension and administration that will enable him to serve and lead our students and faculty effectively. Given his 5-year tenure as head of the Department of Animal Science, he is certainly in tune with the challenges facing department heads, and this experience will allow him to provide a valuable perspective on our college's management team. Like George, Ken is committed when it comes to students in the development of the "whole person."
In May, we saw a shining example of what this type of experience can mean for students when biochemistry major MEREDITH PRICE became one of about 120 students worldwide to win a Gates Cambridge Scholarship for graduate study at Cambridge. Meredith received numerous academic honors and was captain of the varsity volleyball team.
The opportunities available to our incoming students will expand this fall as we inaugurate two academic programs: A new bachelor's degree program in BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING will help prepare students with strong backgrounds in basic biological sciences and engineering to enter professional schools of medicine, pursue advanced degrees or work in medical equipment development and sales or with pharmaceutical and biomedical companies and hospitals. Similarly, the undergraduate minor in BIOTECHNOLOGY will prepare students for a broad array of life sciences careers. The 15-credit-hour curriculum - one of the first of its kind in the nation - will feature an interdisciplinary program with instruction in both technical and ethical aspects of biotechnology. At the new BIOTECHNOLOGY EDUCATION FACILITY in Jordan Hall, the focus will be on teaching students hands-on skills and providing them with experience with state-of-the-art technology they will encounter in the workplace.
July 3, 2001
Dear College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Faculty and Staff:
As we gear up for another academic and fiscal year, I have spent some time reflecting on recent accomplishments of College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty, staff and students. We have faced considerable change and uncertainty with a "can-do" attitude that has enhanced the quality of our teaching, research and extension programs. Some highlights:
On June 29, we celebrated GEORGE BARTHALMUS' distinguished career as an educator and college leader. For 31 years, he has inspired students, supporting leadership and co-curricular activities beyond the purely academic. One of the hallmarks of his years as associate dean and director of academic programs is the leverage of our faculty-mentored research and teaching experiences for undergraduates. Indeed, the university's Undergraduate Research Symposium will be a lasting reminder of his commitment to students, as will the George T. and Marina T. Barthalmus Life Sciences Scholarship Endowment. Information about this endowment is available on the Web at http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/foundation/barthalmus.html
In recent months, we have experienced tremendous growth in contracts and grants to advance our research efforts. We now lead the campus on Grants and Contracts awards with $54 million for this past academic year. With $2.6 million from the National Science Foundation, for example, Dr. Ralph Dean and his colleagues in our FUNGAL GENOMICS LABORATORY are working to tackle rice blast and other disease threats to the world's food supply. Established in fall 1999, the lab works to discover and analyze the function of genes from economically important fungi, which could lead to new ways to protect crops and new ways to use fungi in agricultural and manufacturing processes.
Meanwhile, researchers in our College and the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences have received a $6 million National Institutes of Health grant. The new grant marks the 42nd year of continuous NIH funding for N.C. State research in statistical and quantitative genetics. Some of the research will be carried out in the BIOINFORMATICS RESEARCH CENTER, which formally opened in March.
With GOLDEN LEAF funding, researchers and extension specialists are pursuing work on alternative agricultural enterprises, including production of meat goats, organic crops, specialty crops, southern flounder aquaculture, and sweet potatoes for value-added food products, ethanol or pharmaceutical-grade starch. Alternatives being explored through other funding sources include turning hog manure into fuel-grade ethanol; producing sea oats in tobacco greenhouses; and growing raspberries and off-season blueberries and strawberries.
The initiative and innovation shown by individual faculty members was recognized not only through monetary grants but also through several national awards. Most notably, TODD KLAENHAMMER, an expert on the role of lactic acid bacteria in food fermentation in the Department of Food Science, became North Carolina State University's ninth current member of the National Academy of Sciences.
On June 30, with N.C. Sen. President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight's and Chancellor Marye Anne Fox's participation, we opened the EASTERN 4-H CENTER in Tyrrell County. The center, built with $8.5 million in state-appropriated funds and $1.5 million in private donations, is expected to help conserve an ecologically important area while bringing additional dollars - an estimated $2 million annually - to one of our state's most economically depressed areas. It is designed to provide day camping and resident camping experiences for 4-H members and the community; retreats and conferences for adults and teens throughout the state; agency conferences; and corporate board meetings and recreational events.
On July 1, our college's Cooperative Extension Service and similar programs in other colleges gained a seat at the chancellor's table when Steve Jones joined the university as VICE CHANCELLOR FOR EXTENSION AND ENGAGEMENT. Cooperative Extension is by far the university's largest extension effort, and its director, Jon Ort, and I look forward to working with Dr. Jones to preserve and magnify Cooperative Extension's proven track record while building more partnerships across this campus and throughout the state.
Extension educators in the field and on campus continue to work with their research and teaching counterparts to solve real-world problems affecting North Carolinians. A good example is the work done by extension specialists and researchers to reduce the time it takes for processors to cool eggs and, thus, provide consumers with a safer, higher-quality product. In January, these scientists unveiled their REVOLUTIONARY EGG-COOLING TECHNOLOGY at the 2001 International Poultry Exhibition, and the technology is already in place in North Carolina processing plants.
Work on sea oats by Extension Agent David Nash is helping to save North Carolina's beach dunes, and may also provide an alternative crop for some tobacco growers. I hope you read about this in the Spring 2001 Perspectives.
The award-winning "FOOD … FOR THOUGHT!" campaign, which kicked off in 2000, recently entered its second phase of informing elected officials and urban citizens about the importance of agriculture and agribusiness. Seventy road signs across the state remind folks to "Remember Your Food Doesn't Just Come from the Grocery Store," and College Relations Director Bob Cairns is working with corporate sponsors to bring this message into grocery stores, sports stadiums and fast-food restaurants.
Some 200 development, student and alumni professionals gathered in Raleigh June 20-24 for the National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association's (NAADA) annual meeting, hosted by our College Advancement staff.
In January, longtime North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner JIM GRAHAM joined College Advancement in a volunteer position as the College's first Executive-in-Residence. His wealth of knowledge and experience will benefit our students and faculty, as well as organizations and individuals with a stake in agriculture.
The NORTH CAROLINA 4-H GALA in March netted $200,000 to advance programs that serve some 200,000 young people in communities across this state.
In May, the annual GALA IN THE GARDEN marked the initiation of the JC Raulston Arboretum permanent endowment, and gala participants were able to see the progress being made toward the completion of the RUBY C. MCSWAIN EDUCATION CENTER, the first new project funded as a result of November's successful higher education bond referendum.
As I look back on these past few months, and ahead to the coming academic and fiscal year, I am exceedingly proud to be Dean of this College and to be associated with people who are so passionate about their work, committed and talented.
Mark Fleming, in the chancellor's office; David Rouzer, our commodity relations director; Jon Ort, through Extension's advisory leadership system; and Johnny Wynne have done an outstanding job in recent weeks in helping our state legislators understand what you do and why your work is so valuable to North Carolinians.
Meanwhile, the associate deans and the department heads have stayed in close contact so that we can be in the best position we can be once the General Assembly's budget process is complete. While pleased with the progress that has been made, I remain concerned about the effects that any cuts - no matter how small - would have on our College. I am open to your suggestions and willing to hear your concerns on this topic.
In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful summer.
James L. Oblinger
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