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.
About 110 students from CALS participated in the fall University Commencement ceremonies on Dec. 16. This is a special time for these students and their families and friends. Commencements are always enjoyable celebrations — a time when we can be proud of our students’ achievements and accomplishments. If you have an opportunity, please congratulate them. Many thanks to all of the faculty and staff members who have contributed to their success.
The first three CALS strategic planning working groups met with the associate deans and me on Dec. 2 to discuss the next steps of our planning process. These groups will meet after the first of the year to begin seeking input from our internal and external stakeholders and drafting our six-year strategic plan. We will develop a website that will allow everyone to stay updated on the planning process. Many thanks to the faculty and staff members who have agreed to serve on the working groups. As I mentioned in the recent Dean’s Forum, our goal is to have a plan in place that we can share broadly by May 2012.
I hope everyone is able to relax a bit and spend some time with family and friends in the coming weeks. Best wishes for a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year!