From the Desk of David Baltensperger

Momentum continues in the faculty recruitment process. We are actively searching for a spatial scientist in ESSM and are currently arranging for interviews with our top candidates. We will be conducting a second interview with our top candidate for the Extension range position. This position is joint with West Texas A&M and we are recruiting for a Program Specialist in Stephenville.

The SCSC department is in the final stages of negotiation on the soils position for Overton and we are still recruiting for an Extension Agronomist at Amarillo. Searches have been initiated for a weed scientist and a spatial soil and water scientist at College Station, and we will begin the interview process soon.

It’s an exciting time for the ESSM department as we introduce our recent hires. Dr. Forrest Fleischman and Dr. Claudia Solarzano-Rodriguez will both be joining our department on August 1 in the social science area. They will focus on human dimensions in ecosystem management. Dr. Fleishman will be joining us as an assistant professor and Dr.Solarzano-Rodriguez will be joining us as a visiting scientist. Upon completion of her degree in January, Dr. Morgan Russell will be joining ESSM as an assistant professor and Extension range specialist in San Angelo.

In SCSC, Dr.Xuejun Dong has enthusiastically accepted the position of assistant professor in crop physiology at Uvalde. Dr.Casey Reynolds has joined us as Extension turf specialist at College Station.

We wish Dr. Chandler and Dr. McAfee the best in their retirement as they have phased out their weed science and turf grass science programs respectively. We also wish Dr. Scott Senseman the best in his new role as department head at the University of Tennessee. All of these searches take a large commitment from the faculty and staff and it is all appreciated. It represents a big portion of the future of the departments.

We are in the process of initiating the search for a new department head of Ecosystem Science and Management. I will be chairing the search process and we expect the position description to be available for advertising next week. Please take time to think of outstanding potential candidates that should be encouraged to apply for this exciting leadership opportunity.

Summer graduation is coming soon and we congratulate all of our August graduates! We continue to have strong job opportunities for our graduates, especially in Forestry and Agronomy.

I want to thank all of the faculty and staff for the many and varied roles in, curriculum development, workshops, field days, conferences, interviews, visitors, and meeting the reporting and planning guidelines that we operate under. The dedication of the two departments in all of the things it takes to be successful as a unit is amazing. At the risk of mentioning just one of the many examples, both departments have vested energy and time in the creation of a new honors program and we are ready to begin implementation in ESSM this fall. These all take a large commitment from faculty and staff and the effort is greatly appreciated.

Congratulations to Raghavan Srinivasan on his recent honorary degree. More information is included in this newsletter.

I have had several travel opportunities with my role in CSSA, such as planning our fall meeting in Tampa, the annual budgeting process, representing the case for science in Washington DC, and representing the society at other events. We had an administrative retreat to vision future focus in AgriLife and to prioritize, and leadership will continue to focus on potential for the departments through endowed giving.

Budgeting is currently in full swing and we will have information soon on salary adjustments. Thanks for the patience in the final budget process as both departments are going through it with new financial officers this year.