March Report from the Department Head

Spring is in the air and bluebonnets are providing some scenery as we traverse Texas highways and byways.  The winter semester is moving quickly.  We have a lot going on in Ecosystem Science and Management.  We welcome Dr. Kathleen Kavanagh back for a second interview the week of April 7. We are planning for our Academic Program Review and will plan to hold a faculty retreat on April 30 - May 1 from lunch through lunch.

The administrative team met with AgriLife administration this semester to discuss the positions, plans for moving, the metrics produced by the department this year, constraints, and opportunities as we move forward.  The department is to be congratulated for the publications, grant productivity, and increases in students.  We need to be cognizant that student numbers are becoming a bigger part of funding decisions. We are also encouraged to move forward with development efforts.  It was really good to be able to share how much our unit accomplishes and how productive you are as research faculty, teaching faculty, and extension faculty.  While much of potential improvement is dependent on the legislative session our vision for the future stimulated very solid discussion of next steps.

A special thanks to Dr. Boutton, Dr. Kothmann, Dr. Lyons, and Jeanne Andreski and Chris Wilson for their help on getting the review material put together and especially to all the faculty and staff for participating.  It is extremely important to have your participation in identifying impacts, outputs and accomplishments.  These are used frequently as our administration meets with corporate, state, federal partners and especially with our stakeholders. 

Thanks to Dr. Shaw for a dynamic seminar series again this spring.  Hope you can be there as students wrap up our semester.

The annual review process is now in full swing. I have now been able to complete trips to Amarillo, Vernon, Lubbock, and Corpus Christi. Thanks to all for working with Chris to facilitate the reviews in a timely manner. With both departments to complete reviews for, it will be very hectic between now and the end of May.  Faculty are also wrapping up staff reviews. 

In early March I was able to serve as the A&M representative to NAUFRP Administrative Technical Representative meeting on the McIntire-Stennis funds.  It was a great learning experience and provided significant insight into how they compliment our Hatch and Smith-Lever funds.

I have recently had the opportunity to participate in the 100th anniversary celebration of Norman Borlaug.  This brought great visibility to A&M through his recognition with a statue in the Capitol. I also lead a group of students on congressional visits in D.C. through my role as President of the Crop Science Society of America.  Matt Berg represented Texas A&M. 

Hope to see you at the ESSM Scholarship Reception on Friday, April 11, 6:00 pm, The Village Café, 210 West 26th Street, Bryan, Texas. Please purchase your tickets by April 7 by visiting: http://essm.tamu.edu/2014-schlr-rcpt/