Dean’s Update

Alan Grant, dean

Greetings from Blacksburg! This summer students from the college worked all across the globe. Some participated in internships that helped build the skills needed for a successful career, while others explored the world through summer college programs that allowed them to experience how food, health, and agriculture operate on a global scale. In this issue of Innovations, you can read about one such group of students who visited Ecuador this summer as part of our new Global Food Security and Health minor. Our new Associate Dean for Global Programs, Tom Thompson, talks about the importance of examining agriculture and life sciences through a global lens.

In CALS, we are creating experiences that help prepare students to solve the many global challenges we will all face. The cover story of this issue highlights how undergraduate students are conducting cutting-edge research alongside professors who are working on everything from soybean genetics to animal growth.

Many of these opportunities are made possible through the generous gifts of our alumni and friends who are investing in our next generation of leaders. On the back page you can read how such gifts helped launch our new mentoring program that was as rewarding for the mentors as it was for the mentees. This issue also shows how gifts can help underrepresented students reach their greatest potential through the Beyond Boundaries Scholarship program.

Our new School of Plant and Environmental Sciences will also provide enriching experiences for students. The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors recently approved the establishment of the new school. The proposal is now before the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia for final approval. The school will bring together the departments of crop and soil environmental sciences, horticulture, and plant pathology, physiology, and weed science into a single academic and administrative unit to integrate the research, teaching, and Extension programs.

This is truly an exciting time in the college and I thank you being part of our shared future.

Alan Grant