Embracing change and new opportunities

Date posted: August 8, 2013

Dean Linton speaks at a March event honoring CALS alumnus Harold Brubaker.Marc Hall photoDean Linton speaks at a March event honoring CALS alumnus Harold Brubaker.

As we go to press with this Summer 2013 issue of Perspectives, I am nearing the completion of my first year as dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences – and what a year it has been! As I reflect on the past 12 months, I am reminded of the significant challenges we faced and the tremendous support we received from our stakeholders, as we launched a new era for the College.

There are still many significant changes on the horizon. This summer two major events altered the landscape of our College. N.C. State’s new College of Sciences (COS) came into being, and CALS wrapped up its strategic planning process, charging stakeholders to embrace the plan and take action.

I believe, thanks in part to the planning and preparation done by CALS internal and external stakeholders, we are well poised to advance our College and solidify our reputation as a world leader in agriculture and the life sciences.

As of July 1, several stakeholders now identify with a new department or a new college or both. With the formation of COS, several faculty and staff members and students moved from CALS to COS. The majority of these students and faculty members are from our departments of Biology, Microbiology, Genetics and Environmental Toxicology, which will no longer be in CALS. In addition to those transitioning over to COS, there will also be others affected by the CALS realignment. We have created in our College a new Department of Applied Ecology, while the Department of Plant Biology has become the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. Some of our faculty will shift to these and other CALS departments.

Of special interest to alumni is another effect of this move: On July 1, the alumni of those four departments became designated COS alumni in the university’s database. However, those graduates who still wish to be designated as CALS alumni can contact University Advancement Services or the CALS Advancement Office and request to designate CALS as their preferred college in the university’s database. Alumni may also designate their college affiliation online at http://alumni.ncsu.edu/record_update.

July also marked the beginning of implementation of our College’s strategic planning, an inclusive and transparent process to develop a picture of where the College is today along with a vision for where we want to be in the future. This began last December and has followed four steps: the information phase, in which key issues were identified in sessions with alumni and stakeholders statewide; the ideation phase, with the formation of recommendations; the writing phase; and the implementation phase. You can follow the progress at http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/strategicplan.

Many changes, yet many opportunities, lie ahead for CALS.

I recently gave a collegewide update that addressed the multiple internal and external factors affecting our future. I welcome you to view the entire presentation at http://go.ncsu.edu/CALS_Update.

As the College adapts and delivers solutions for local and global challenges, our commitment to the land-grant mission and our focus on the CALS student/stakeholder experience will remain our most important priorities. In this issue of Perspectives, we illustrate how the College continues to respond to and address these priorities – and how our faculty, student and alumni activities, as well as Extension services, impact our state, nation and world every day.

Richard Linton
Dean
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

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