Tag Archives: Strategic Planning

From the Dean — October 2012

Dear Colleagues,

Alan Grant

Alan Grant, dean

Among the many events and activities that took place in September was the final development stages of our college strategic planning process. The final version of our long-awaited 2012-2018 Strategic Plan was recently submitted to the Office of the Provost, completing a process that began many months ago and involved numerous stakeholders. I encourage you to peruse our new plan on the CALS website as we begin steps to implement the strategies and actions.

In addition to new mission and vision statements, the plan includes a list of values, emphasis areas, and four major goals with a number of strategies and high-priority action items. We also included a section that illustrates how our college plan is aligned and linked with the vision, goals, and objectives of the university’s Continue reading

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From the dean – February 2012

Dear Colleagues,

Alan Grant

Alan Grant, dean

The General Assembly session is now in full swing, and we’ve been spending time meeting with legislators and other stakeholders to relay the importance of, and need for, our educational and research funding. We are also relaying the positive developments in Virginia Cooperative Extension throughout the commonwealth, and the successes of the groundbreaking work being done on campus and at our agricultural research and extension centers.

Through our interactions, it is clear that the study of life sciences and agriculture, and the thriving agriculture industry in Virginia, are top priorities for many members in the General Assembly. As the session moves forward, we are optimistic that Extension and the Agriculture Experiment Station will receive some additional funding to support critical staffing needs.

The first three College strategic planning working groups met in December and will continue their work this semester to begin the process of drafting our six-year strategic plan. Three working groups, each aligned with a strategic goal in the plan (Teaching and Learning, Research, and Extension) are comprised of 10 individuals representing a broad spectrum of our programs, departments, and units in the College. Jay Williams of HNFE is heading the Teaching and Learning group, George Davis from AAEC is heading the Research group, and Joyce Lattimer, HORT, is leading the Extension working group.

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From the Dean – December 2011

Dear Colleagues,

Alan Grant

Alan Grant, dean

I am writing this message on my return trip from the University of Sao Paulo in Piracicaba, Brazil, where I presented an invited talk as part of a conference on graduate education. Faculty members in the College of Agriculture at the University of Sao Paulo are looking at ways to enhance their graduate programs in animal sciences and studying graduate programs in various countries (U.S., South Korea, Australia, and the U.K.) as they consider changes in their curricula. It was a good exchange of ideas on the future challenges and opportunities in graduate education. Continue reading

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From the Dean – November 2011

Dear Colleagues,

Alan Grant

Alan Grant, dean

As the university continues its long-range planning and develops a new six-year strategic plan, the college will be working in tandem to develop a strategic plan that is aligned with the new university plan. A steering committee was formed last March and met over a period of several months to begin developing a process for and initial steps of a strategic plan. The committee was chaired by Jody Jellison and also included Erik Ervin, Beth Grabau, Lori Greiner, Joe Marcy, Kim Niewolny, Steve Rideout, Pete Schultz, Kurt Stephenson, and Mary Leigh Wolfe. I very much appreciate the time and energy that the steering committee members have devoted to this important activity.

We are now at a stage where we need to build on their ideas and develop specific strategies, action items, and metrics for various goals. Several working groups will be formed to assist with this stage of the process. I have asked department heads, AREC directors, and college staff association for nominees to serve on working groups. I am currently finalizing appointments and plan to meet with the working groups in the near future.

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From the Dean – July 1

Dear Colleagues,

Alan Grant

Alan Grant, dean

As you know, planning for relocation of the dairy unit from its current location on Southgate Drive to a new site has been underway to achieve a long-term sustainable land-use scenario for agricultural activities in light of the expansion of Corporate Research Center (and Tech Center Drive), expansion of the Virginia Tech Montgomery Executive Airport, and relocation of the Route 460/ Southgate Drive intersection. In the Spring of 2011, the planning team made a recommendation for specific facilities and infrastructure to support the dairy program. The relocation plan calls for construction of a facility at Kentland Farm that would support a 230-cow dairy. The plan also calls for a metabolism unit at Kentland, and teaching facilities at Plantation Road and at the Moore Farm on Prices Fork Road. The entire project is a one-for-one replacement of the current facilities with upgrades to meet future programmatic and operational needs.

The current total project cost estimate from University Design and Construction is about $21 million. We understand the new Route 460 intersection may begin construction in 2013 and that the new roadways for the intersection may be installed to work around the existing dairy center. We also understand the timing of the airport runway extension work may be arranged with the FAA to start after a dairy center solution is complete. Thus, based on current thoughts on the project, the university intends to find a scheduling and funding solution which would allow the dairy center operations to continue until a permanent solution is available. Additional information about the relocation planning and the relocation report can be found at the dairy program relocation portal.

The Strategic Planning Committee has been meeting regularly to prepare a draft outline for a college strategic plan. This group includes representatives from the faculty and staff, department heads, and the ARECs. The next scheduled meeting will be held in mid-July. When the committee completes its draft, it will be distributed for input from appropriate internal and external stakeholders.

The ultimate goal of this process is the development of a plan that:

  1. Serves as a guide for the college and its investments in the missions of teaching, research, and Extension.
  2. Informs internal and external stakeholders of our key goals and strategies.
  3. Is aligned with the strategic plans and initiatives of our institution and partners.

As this process continues to develop, there will be multiple opportunities for input from our internal and external stakeholders to ensure that the concerns and priorities of our partners are well-represented in the final plan.

Dr. Tom Thompson is now on board as the new head of the Department Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences. Before his arrival, Dr. Thompson served as head of plant and soil sciences at Texas Tech University. He received his master’s degree from Texas A&M University and his Ph.D. from Iowa State University. I am delighted that he has arrived, as he will bring a wealth of experience to Virginia Tech.

We are very pleased that Dr. Mary Leigh Wolfe has accepted our offer to become head of the Department of Biological Systems Engineering in May. She had served as interim head since December 2009. My thanks to those who participated in the search and interview process, especially the search committee: Loke Kok (chair), Brian Benham, Theo Dillaha, John Ignosh, Jonathan Leder, Ryan Senger, Barbara Taylor, John Walz, Christan Whysong, Theresa Wynn, and Mike Zhang.

The search for the head of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics is now under way. The search committee is being chaired by Mike Akers, head of the Department of Dairy Science. Other members of the committee are Greg Amacher, George Davis, George Norton, Kurt Stephenson, and Wen You.

I hope you have a safe and relaxing Independence Day.

Alan Grant
Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


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