Monthly Archives: August 2011

From the Dean – August 5

Alan Grant

Alan Grant, dean

Dear Colleagues,

There has been a flurry of activity on campus over the past several weeks. In June, the college hosted more than 400 teens and adults during the 91st 4-H Congress. We were honored to have Cynthia Kinser, chief justice of the Virginia Supreme Court, give the keynote address to the 4-H delegates during the opening ceremony. She recounted her first taste of public speaking when she attended 4-H Congress in the 1960s when she was in eighth grade. Kinser is a 4-H All Star and served as a founding member of the Virginia 4-H Foundation.

During the same week, Master Gardener volunteers from around the state traveled to Virginia Tech for the annual Master Gardener College, where they participated in four days of workshops, talks, and tours. And just one week later, more than 1,300 FFA members, advisors, and guests arrived on campus for the 82nd Virginia FFA State Convention. Continue reading

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Insights Highlights

Nominations Being Accepted for Two Professorships
Nominations are now being accepted for the W. G. Wysor Professorship of Agriculture and the the David R. & Margaret Lincicome Professor of Agriculture. The Wysor Professorship is based on past service and future potential for significant impact to the college and to Virginia agriculture. Emphasis focuses, however, on the principal agricultural commodities in Virginia, with priority in the selection to production agriculture departments such as agronomy, agricultural economics, and the animal and plant sciences, but not restricted to these.  The Lincicome Professorship is awarded to a faculty member whose work is in either goat research or in academic programs of the college.

Accolades
Several members of the College of Agriculture and Life Science and Virginia Cooperative Extension have been recognized for their work.

Transitions
Find out what your colleagues are up to and view the complete list of new hires.

Virginia SARE Request for Proposals – Deadline October 1
The Virginia Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program proposal submission deadline is October 1. SARE provides funding opportunities for the training and education of Extension agents, Extension specialists, Farm Service Agency personnel, Natural Resource Conservation Service personnel, and other USDA and agricultural professionals.

Craftsman Workshop on Systems-Based Grant Programs
On August 9 National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) national program leaders, in partnership with the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, are offering the third in a series of one-day national workshops covering the preparation and management of competitively awarded, systems-based grant applications.

Grants Available to Agricultural Producers
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is now accepting applications for the 2011 round of Value-Added Producer Grants. The USDA will award two years of funding, totaling more than $37 million.

4-H Foundation 2011 Innovative Programming Awards Announced
The winners of the 2011 Virginia 4-H Foundation have been announced. The Innovative Programming Awards serve as a means to encourage agents to develop new and creative ways to implement 4-H in their units.

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Accolades

 

 

Tony Wolf (center), professor of horticulture and director of the Alson H. Smith Jr. AREC, receives the 2011 Swiger Land-Grant Award from Dean Emeritus Andy Swiger, (left) and Alan Grant, dean.

 

 

Ruth Wallace, associate Extension agent-4-H, Buckingham County; Jennifer Bowen, associate Extension agent-4-H, Prince Edward County; Doug Harpole, associate Extension agent-4-H, Fauquier County; and Avery Born, Northern 4-H Center, received VAE4-HA mini-grants for program development. Ruth and Jennifer will work on a 4-H canning process, while Doug and Avery will work on a soil science program.

Audrey McElroy, animal and poultry sciences, received the NOVUS International Teaching Award from the Poultry Science Association. This award is given in recognition of the fact that excellence in teaching is basic to the future welfare of the poultry industry. It is given to a member who, over several years, has demonstrated outstanding success as a teacher.

Chasity Cox, animal and poultry sciences, received the Alltech Student Research Manuscript Award from the Poultry Science Association. The award is given to a student for the presentation and publication as senior author of an outstanding research manuscript in Poultry Science.

Rami A. Dalloul, animal and poultry sciences, received the Hy-Line International Research Award from the Poultry Science Association. This award is given to a member who published outstanding research in poultry science as the sole or senior author.

Matthew Eick, crop and soil environmental sciences, is a recipient of this year’s Division of Undergraduate Education Appreciative Advising Travel Grant. The grant provides funds to assist faculty, professional staff, and staff advisors who primarily serve undergraduate students. Eick is one of four Virginia Tech representatives who will participate in the First Annual Appreciative Advising Institute in Las Vegas this summer.

Joe Hunnings, CALS administration, was recently honored as one of the first four national recipients of eXtension’s Be Grow Create Outstanding Institutional Team Member Award. The award recognizes responsiveness and engagement with their institution on behalf of eXtension, institutional team development and sustainability, and eXtension advocacy. The awards were presented June 29 at the eXtension National CoP Workshop in Louisville, Ky.

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Save The Date

August 10: Wednesday Garden Butterfly Walk
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Meet at the Peggy Lee Hahn Garden Pavilion
Cost: Free
Contact: Stephanie Huckestein (vtgarden@vt.edu || 540-231-5970)

 

August 21: New Student Welcome Social
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: Front entrance of Litton-Reaves Hall
Cost: Free
Contact: Jamie Lucero (jlucero@vt.edu || 540-231-9666)

 

August 24: Wednesday Garden Butterfly Walk
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: Meet at the Peggy Lee Hahn Garden Pavilion
Cost: Free
Contact: Stephanie Huckestein (vtgarden@vt.edu || 540-231-5970)

 

August 27: Down and Dirty II: The Wicked Garden Symposium
Time: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Location: Hahn Horticulture Garden
Cost: $55 general public, $45 Friends of the Garden. Includes lunch and reception.
Contact: Stephanie Huckestein (vtgarden@vt.edu || 540-231-5970)

 

August 31: Fall Semester Kickoff Picnic
Time: 4-7 p.m.
Location: Ag Quad
Cost: Free
Contact: Jamie Lucero (jlucero@vt.edu || 540-231-9666)

 

October 14: Alwood Oak and Memorial Dedication
Time: 4-5 p.m.
Location: Drillfield
Cost: Free
Contact: Mike Weaver (mweaver@vt.edu || 540-231-6543 || http://vtpp.ext.vt.edu/news/alwood-oak-and-memorial-dedication)

 

October 15: Alwood Days Bugfest
Time: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Location: Virginia Tech Ag Quad
Cost: Free
Contact: Mike Weaver (mweaver@vt.edu || 540-231-6543 || www.Hokiebugfest.org)

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Nominations Being Accepted for Two Professorships

The W. G. Wysor Professorship of Agriculture – The Wysor Professorship is based on past service and future potential for significant impact to the college and to Virginia agriculture. Emphasis focuses, however, on the principal agricultural commodities in Virginia, with priority in the selection to production agriculture departments such as agronomy, agricultural economics, and the animal and plant sciences, but not restricted to these.

The David R. & Margaret Lincicome Professor of Agriculture – The Lincicome Professorship is awarded to a faculty member whose work is in either goat research or in academic programs of the college. The purpose of the professorship is for a faculty member to conduct goat research, teach, and conduct Extension work in the college. Funds distributed from the endowment will first be used to support goat research to the extent available and appropriate. If such funds from the endowment exceed an amount necessary for an appropriate and high quality goat research program, the remaining funds would be used to support academic programs in the college.

These professorships are among the highest honors in the college and only tenured faculty at the rank of professor may be considered. Nominations will be accepted from any college department and will be awarded to the faculty member who has demonstrated significant career scholarship and who will continue to provide scholarly leadership in his or her contributions to the appropriate focus of the professorship.

Both professorships include a salary supplement of $8,000, plus an operating allowance of at least $4,000. Nominations and self-nominations must be forwarded electronically through the department heads to share with appropriate departmental committees, and then to the dean’s office by no later than August 24.

Nominations should be accompanied by a full dossier of relevant materials, including current curriculum vitae, letters of nomination from the departmental screening committees (Promotion and Tenure and Departmental Honorifics committees), letters of support, and other evidence attesting to the quality of the contributions of the nominee.

The nomination packet will be shared with the College Honorifics Committee and a recommendation made to the dean. The dean’s recommendation will be sent through the provost and to the university president. The president will make the final recommendation to the Board of Visitors for its approval at the November 2011 meeting. Appointments are expected to be made effective January 1, 2012, and are for a five-year term.

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Recent Hires

College Faculty
Ahmad I. Athamneh, biological systems engineering, July 1
Renee J. Felice, food science and technology, July 1
Karleigh R. Huff, food science and technology, July 10
Paige A. Johnson, 4-H youth specialist, animal and poultry sciences, June 1
Katherine L. Kamminga, entomology, May 1
Megan M. Seibel, agricultural and Extension education, June 10
Steven K. Thomas, crop and soil environmental sciences, July 10
Tommy L. Thompson, crop and soil environmental sciences, May 25
Leemar C. Thorpe, animal and poultry sciences, April 25
Hong Zhu, horticulture, April 25

College Staff
Stephanie N. D’Adamo-Damery, human nutrition, foods and exercise, June 25
Daniel U. Gochenour, human nutrition, foods and exercise, June 1
Ritesh K C, plant pathology, physiology, and weed science, June 6
Heather M. Littier, dairy science, June 30
Jerry L. Rogers, crop and soil environmental sciences, May 10
Amy L. Synder, entomology, June 10

Extension Faculty
Carrie V. Brink, Chesterfield County, July 25
Chris Drake, Southhampton County, July 25
Zachary Easton, Eastern Shore AREC, April 25
Sarah Jo Jones, Carroll County, July 19

Extension Staff
Erin E. Farmer, Wythe County, July 10
Stephanie D. Gray, Virginia Seafood AREC, June 10
Laura L. Neff-Henderson, CALS administration, June 20
Jennifer E. Presser, Loudoun County, July 10
Paula P. Schmidt, Chesapeake, July 10
Sara E. Webber, Goochland County, July 10

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Transitions

Greg Peck joined the faculty as an assistant professor of horticulture at the Alson H. Smith Jr. AREC. Peck joined the AREC in late April as the tree fruits horticulturist with an Extension/research appointment. Peck earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2009 and his master’s degree from Washington State University in 2004. Both degrees were in horticulture and involved studies of orchard management systems, including organic and integrated approaches compared to more conventional production systems.

Mike Martin, southwest district director, successfully defended his dissertation, “Influence of Human Resource Practices on Employee Intention to Quit,” which was conducted with Extension agents across the southern region.

Melissa Chase, former Giles/Bland FCS agent, is now the food safety program manager. Her responsibilities in the new role include planning, developing, and evaluating educational programs for community-based implementation that support retail and consumer food safety, food preservation, and master food volunteer initiatives across the commonwealth. Melissa has articulated a solid vision for expanding master food volunteers, as well as retail and consumer food safety programming. She will offer professional development training and technical assistance to Extension faculty, paraprofessionals, volunteers, and other audiences/partners related to these initiatives.

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James R. Warren – August Employee of the Month

James "Jim' Warren

James R. Warren, Alson H. Smith Jr. AREC, is the August Employee of the Month. Jim, as his colleagues know him, has worked as the farm manager for more than 22 years, held and developing many new skills along the way. His primary job responsibilities include maintenance of all physical facilities, including more than 20 farm and road vehicles, light construction needs, farm maintenance (mowing, herbiciding, cultivation, etc.) and building mechanical maintenance. Jim is also one of two safety officers at the AREC and is the designated point person for calling AREC personnel in the event of authorized closures due to inclement weather.

His core job responsibilities are always performed in a timely and effective manner, and the appearance of the AREC farm and grounds positively reflect the university and are a testament to his attention to detail. Where James truly shines, however, is his knowledge of mechanical systems, the specific systems used at the Winchester AREC, and his ability to maintain and perform routine repairs on equipment and mechanical systems. In this regard, Jim has routinely saved the AREC $10,000 to $15,000 in repairs and light construction per year by bringing his knowledge, skills, and work ethic to bear on the needs and challenges of the AREC.

Jim Warren personifies the Ut Prosim motto of Virginia Tech. His combination of work ethic, attention to detail, and mechanical knowledge and skills underpins the research and Extension efforts that our faculty and staff perform.

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Walter Hartman – July Employee of the Month

Walter Hartman, center, receives the Employee of the Month Award from Dean Alan Grant, left, and Food Science & Technology Department Head Joe Marcy.

Walter Hartman, food science and technology, was the July Employee of the Month. Walter has been responsible for the lab portion of the dairy processing class and works closely with the food science Dairy Judging Team, including making the samples they evaluate, training the team on how to evaluate dairy products, and transporting students to the contests and back to Virginia Tech — even on nights and weekends. He has served as an invited judge for the World Championship Cheese Contest (2006) and twice at the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest (2007, 2009).

Walter is also a valuable Extension resource for the Virginia dairy industry. If dairies have problems with their products, they can send samples to Walter for microbiological testing, sensory analysis, etc. If there is a problem at a dairy plant, Walter will visit to assess the situation and try to find the source of contamination or just give advice on how to make processing run more smoothly. It is because of Walter’s professionalism that this program has been successful and dairies feel comfortable coming to him for help.

Walter’s efforts to improve morale and promote food science extend beyond the campus borders. He has coordinated Virginia Tech’s participation in the Capitol Hill ice cream party for more than 20 years.

He also assists graduate students and professors with their research. His assistance with the instructional activities in several laboratory classes (food processing, dairy products sensory evaluation, food microbiology) has been critical to the success of the laboratory portion of the teaching program in the department and to the students’ development.

In addition to helping students with their research and working closely with the Dairy Judging Team, Walter is committed to his own professional development and to that of co-workers. Walter received recognition in 2008 for his commitment and continuing efforts as a committee member on the Human Resource Restructuring Employee Advisory Committee. In 2011, he was awarded a certificate from the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals for having successfully completed the food safety manager certification examination.

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Virginia SARE Request for Proposals – Deadline October 1

The Virginia Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program provides funding opportunities for the training and education of Extension agents, Extension specialists, Farm Service Agency personnel, Natural Resource Conservation Service personnel, and other USDA and agricultural professionals.

The purpose of the program is to train agricultural professionals in the concepts of sustainable agriculture. The program involves a multifaceted effort that includes conferences, workshops, on-farm/-field meetings, and demonstrations with the ultimate purpose of increasing knowledge of sustainable agriculture practices and principles.

In Virginia, there are two grant opportunities with this specific program: individual training grants and group training grants.

1. Individual – Agricultural professionals can request a grant for individual professional development, not to exceed $600 per person. This grant program supports travel costs of selected professionals to regional and national conferences/training on sustainable agriculture, with the intent of participants gaining knowledge and skills they will share with other agricultural professionals in Virginia.

2. Group – Agricultural professionals can request a grant for group professional development, not to exceed $600 per person for each training/education project or program. This grant program supports the costs of organizing programs, travel, speakers, etc., that are targeted to train agricultural professionals in sustainable agriculture.

Note: Proposals should be submitted using the application at www.intra.ext.vt.edu/staffdev/ and should be one to two pages, as needed, to clearly state the purpose, the sustainable agriculture connections and linkage, and the expected results (what will occur as a result of the training). Proposals should include locations, dates, and times; a budget with estimated costs (specific details related to training materials, curriculum, etc., and anticipated costs); and who will be invited to participate. Proposals can include training and projects in all areas of agriculture and natural resources with sustainable agriculture impacts.

Funds are limited and will be reviewed and approved by the Virginia’s Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Committee.

The deadline for the current funding cycle is October 1. Submissions should be submitted electronically to dcalhoun@vt.edu and copied to sproffit@vt.edu. For more information, contact D. Brian Calhoun, VCE associate director, at 540-231-1247 or dcalhoun@vt.edu.

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