CALS growing and investing in the future

Alan Grant, dean

Alan Grant, dean

Greetings from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences! This past year has been a continuation of growth for the college. I would like to take this opportunity to provide some updates on the progress the college is making in expanding its academic, research, and Virginia Cooperative Extension programs.

As we move into the next academic year and welcome 484 first-year students, 142 transfer students, and many returning students, this is an opportune time to highlight the significant increase we are seeing in student enrollment. There were 2,871 undergraduate majors enrolled in CALS this past year, a nearly 24 percent increase since 2007. We awarded 680 bachelor’s degrees, 97 master’s degrees, and 58 doctorates the last academic year — an increase of more than 60 percent compared to 2007.

As part of our strategic plan, we will continue this expansion over the next six years with an enrollment goal of about 3,000 undergraduate majors and 850 graduate students.

The college’s research programs are growing, too. Annual grant expenditures swelled by 14 percent over last year to a total of $45.7 million — a figure that nearly doubles the grant dollars of a decade ago. The bulk of our grant funding comes from federal agencies, but a sizeable amount is from industry, too.

We have been very fortunate to recruit a number of new faculty members in recent years. In 2010, when the college faced substantial budget cuts, the number of tenure-track and tenured faculty members dropped to 180, and the number of Extension agents dropped to 179. By the end of 2013, we expect 224 tenure-track and tenured faculty members (on campus and at the Agricultural Research and Extension Centers) and 235 Extension agents to be on board.

Our alumni and friends provide considerable support that has a significant impact on our students and on others who benefit from the many programs of the college.

The college’s three-year average gift income has increased from $3.9 million in 2008 to approximately $5.3 million in 2013. Our total endowment is more than $58 million, which includes nearly 300 endowments that support many academic and research programs, scholarships, assistantships, professorships, and experiential learning activities.

These funds and annual contributions allowed the college to award 575 scholarships this past academic year, which had a total value of approximately $1 million and provided nearly $2 million in income from endowments to support college programs, projects, and endowed positions.

The growth that CALS has been experiencing is the result of the work and assistance of many internal and external stakeholders of the college. We are very thankful to those who have made it possible to continue to grow and invest in our people and programs.

With this ongoing support, the future of CALS is bright!

Alan Grant