Dean’s Update

alan grant

Alan Grant, dean

Greetings from CALS,

At 4-H camps across the commonwealth, more than 17,000 children a year experience the time-honored traditions of 4-H that promote good citizenry and community service through the 4-H motto, “head, heart, hands, and health.”

But as times have changed, so has 4-H.

In programs around the state and the country, the nation’s largest youth development organization is rising to meet the demands of a new century. While activities that 4-H is known for, such as livestock judging, continue to be the cornerstone of 4-H foundational leadership, 4-H also now teaches a wide array of STEM subjects, including drone technology, robotics, and electronics.

Much like the cover story in this issue of Innovations illustrates, Virginia 4-H camps provide opportunities to foster these modern skills in a traditional 4-H environment.

4-H’s goal of preparing students for a new generation of challenges dovetails with the college’s mission to groom successful leaders for the 21st century. We are working with a new university-wide initiative called “Beyond Boundaries” — a program to create purpose-driven students for an increasingly interconnected, global world.

Speaking of innovation and change, we are looking forward to the college’s new School of Plant and Environmental Sciences. This school — which includes the departments of horticulture; crop and soil environmental sciences; and plant pathology, physiology, and weed science — will allow a breadth of collaboration and cooperation among departments while creating new education and research opportunities for faculty and students. The proposal for establishing the new school is currently making its way through the review and governance processes.

On the international front, Professor Tom Thompson has recently been appointed as the new CALS associate dean and director of international programs. Tom, who has been the head of the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences for the last five years, will focus on growing the college’s international programs across our teaching, research, and Extension missions.
As always, thank you to our friends and alumni who continue to support the college in so many different ways.

Alan Grant