Dean’s Update

Alan Grant

Alan Grant, dean

Greetings from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

While you are reading this issue, I am sure you will be as impressed as I am by the many accomplishments of our faculty, staff, and students. On the following pages, you will learn more about students working across the globe on food security and environmental issues; the faculty’s innovative research, such as the recent discovery of how plants communicate with each other at the molecular level; and how Virginia’s first lady, Dorothy McAuliffe, recently joined us to kick off our Eat Smart, Move More campaign, which is helping young children lead healthier lives. These are among the many stories that help to illustrate the value and impact of the programs in the college. CALS is making a difference in people’s lives around the world.

As many of you know, agriculture is the largest economic engine in Virginia, and the college has a large supporting role in the industry through its teaching, research, and Extension missions. In addition to the facilities in Blacksburg and the 107 Extension offices located across the commonwealth, the network of 11 Agricultural Research and Extension Centers represents Virginia’s diverse agricultural industry and addresses the unique characteristics, needs, and challenges of various regions.

We invest resources in these ARECs so that our faculty can continue to conduct research and Extension programs that are relevant to the industry and to communities.

We have also begun an external review of the ARECs, using a team of scientists from peer institutions, in order to identify ways to make an even larger impact on the commonwealth. We are looking forward to the team’s feedback.

I am especially encouraged by the comments in this issue of Innovations by Virginia Tech’s new president, Timothy Sands. As you will read, he is a strong supporter of the work the college is doing every day to ensure Virginia Tech’s reputation as a global leader.

We could not do it all without the support of our alumni, stakeholders, and friends, so thanks for all you do to help make our college an exceptional one.


Alan Grant