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CAHNRS News – December 18, 2009

Posted by | December 18, 2009

Recent Budget Announcement from the Governor

Last Wednesday, the Governor announced her budget recommendations to the Legislature which included an additional $13.55 million reduction to the FY-11 budget for WSU. This amount is on top of the $54 million reduction we have already sustained, and it is a permanent budget reduction. If this latest budget reduction were to be applied equally across all units at WSU, it would constitute approximately a 7 percent reduction. (Note: this is not to say that it will be uniformly applied; this calculation is simply made to benchmark the size of the proposed reduction relative to past reductions). As you may have read in the local papers, the Governor is going to propose an alternative budget in January which includes a revenue enhancement package. So, at least from the Governor’s perspective, this 7 percent number represents a “worst-case scenario” at this point.

I have little insight as to how WSU intends to meet this reduction, other than recent conversations with the Provost indicate that it will not be taken “across the board.” Obviously, until we have better budget clarity, we will be taking a very conservative approach to any new hiring. In the interim, the CAHNRS Administration will be vetting budget reduction options. As was the case last year, we will keep faculty and staff informed of developments as they occur over the coming months.

Thank you for your cooperation.


Dean Bernardo Says “Thank You!”

A hearty thank you to all who attended the CAHNRS Holiday Party in Ensminger Pavilion last week. We shared scrumptious food that covered two tables, drank great wine, beer and soda, and listened to some fun holiday music. Pam and I had a great time. We’re grateful for your presence. Most of all, we’re delighted to report that you provided over 1,000 lbs. of food and other household items for donation. After Pam and I matched that, we were able to donate over one ton of goods to local area food banks. Thank you again for brightening our holiday season and especially for all that you do for people in our community.

Thanks for Participating in “Imagine U @ WSU”

CAHNRS Academic Programs would like to thank all the CAHNRS and Extension faculty and staff who participated in the WSU Outreach event, “Imagine U @ WSU” in November. These individuals each took a day or two out of their hectic schedules to visit a Washington high school and share information about their research and careers with young people:

Chris Benedict, Extension Educator, Pierce County
Michael Costello, Research Technologist, School of Food Science
Amit Dhingra, Assistant Professor, Genomics and Biotechnology
Janet Edwards, Extension 4-H Afterschool Specialist, WSU Spokane
Joan Ellis, Associate Professor, Apparel, Merchandising, Design & Textiles
Jan Klein, Extension 4-H Teen Leadership Coordinator
Jared Lisonbee, Assistant Professor, Human Development
Nicole Martini, Master Gardener Program Coordinator and Horticulturist, Pierce County
Tim Miller, Extension Weed Scientist, WSU-NWREC
Thomas Walters, Small Fruits Horticulturist, WSU-NWREC
Matt Williams, Associate in Turfgrass Research/Instructor
Rich Zack, Associate Professor, Entomology

We greatly appreciate the contribution of all these individuals to WSU outreach and recruitment!

New Chair of Entomology

Steve Sheppard took the reins as the new chair of Entomology effective Dec. 16, 2009. Thanks to Rich Zack for his service as department chair. Rich served as department chair over the last four years and preceded his four-year appointment with two years of service as interim chair.

Effective Assignment Design: Creating or Refining an Assignment or Learning Activity

This three-hour workshop will give you a chance to look at one of your own assignments or learning activities, and identify its strengths as well as ways to improve it. The workshop will introduce principles of effective teaching and learning in connection with assignment design, and provide concrete examples. You’ll have an opportunity to explore specific areas and resources relevant to the kind of assignment or activity you brought in and discuss changes suitable to your course context and students. Then you’ll identify a change(s) you’d like to make and pilot this semester, think about resources you might want and meet any potential partners among the faculty (for example, others who would like to try changing a similar type of assignment, with whom you could share resources or discuss what happens this semester). Finally, we’ll suggest ways to get feedback on the change(s) you’ll be piloting and assess the impact of the revised assignment or activity.

After completing this workshop, you will have:

  • Identified a change you’d like to make and pilot this semester in an assignment or activity, based on best practices in teaching and learning
  • Identified resources and/or potential peers interested in piloting a similar change, with whom you might share planning & resources and discuss what happens & troubleshoot as necessary
  • Considered an assessment strategy to determine the effect of the changes you’ll pilot
  • Considered ways to document – even informally – what you do and notice along the way – as part of professional development for yourself and your program.

Please bring to the workshop:

  • One copy of your syllabus (with course objectives and any student learning outcomes you have).
  • Two copies of assignment prompt, activity instructions & materials, or series of related assignments you’d like to work on. (You might choose an assignment that you think is valuable, but that students don’t always succeed as well as you’d like them to).
  • Optional: in advance make a few notes about what you think is strong about this assignment or activity and what doesn’t seem to work so well. What bottlenecks have you observed in the past? Are there patterns in where the students get off track?

Date: Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010
Time: 9 a.m. to noon
Location: CUE 518

The workshop is free of charge; however, enrollment is limited. Thirty seats are available and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The workshop is open to faculty and graduate students from CAHNRS who are involved with student instruction. Please RSVP by Jan. 5, 2010 to Becky Dueben at or 509-335-8403 to reserve your spot.

This workshop is another in a series of workshops sponsored by CAHNRS Academic Programs to support the best of academic instruction.

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis Young Scientists Summer Program

IIASA’s annual three-month Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP) offers research opportunities to talented young researchers whose interests correspond with IIASA’s ongoing research on issues of global environmental, economic and social change. From June through August, accepted participants work within the Institute’s Research Programs ( under the guidance of IIASA scientific staff. The YSSP provides a unique opportunity for participants to

  • advance their research under the direct supervision of an experienced IIASA scientist, and at the same time contribute to IIASA’s ongoing scientific agenda;
  • broaden their research interests by working in IIASA’s interdisciplinary and international research environment;
  • build contacts with IIASA’s worldwide network of collaborators and with other YSSP fellows.

Details at

Eligibility info at

A New Apple from WSU

Since 1994, WSU has strived to develop new apple cultivars with outstanding eating quality as quickly as possible. After 15 years, the WSU apple breeding program, based here at the Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee, has released its first apple cultivar. The apple, currently known as WA 2, was released because of its outstanding eating quality, appearance, productivity and potential to be a successful cultivar in Washington State. It is attractive with an orange-red to pinkish-red blush over 70-90 percent of the skin surface, with a yellow background. WA 2 has large and conspicuous lenticels which usually make it easily distinguishable from other cultivars and add to its overall pleasing appearance. WA 2’s shape is round and its size is medium to large, usually being larger than Gala, comparable to Braeburn and smaller than Fuji. The fruit has outstanding texture, being very firm, crisp and juicy, and it loses very little firmness in storage and on the shelf. WA 2 ripens in late September and early October and is suited to the fresh market with the potential to be a commercial cultivar both directly off the tree and out of medium- and long-term storage. Further information about WA 2 and an explanation of the grower evaluation and commercialization plan can be found at

Annual Chili Feed and Fund Raiser at IAREC

The annual chili feed and silent auction to benefit needy families in Prosser was held this Monday. Over $2,100 was raised, including a donation of $277 for the “honor” of throwing a pie in former Director Bob Stevens’ face.


Michael Neff recently became the director of the Molecular Plant Sciences graduate program.

The Institute of Food Technologists Higher Education Review Board has approved the School of Food Science curriculum for the next five years as meeting the IFT Undergraduate Education Standards for Degrees in Food Science.

Gary Ballard received the Walter Clore Award at the recent annual meeting of the Washington State Grape Society. Ballard helped establish, and has served as manager of, the Northwest Grape Foundation Service. The Foundation Service works to keep Pacific Northwest nurseries supplied with growing stock that is tested free of viruses as prescribed by state regulations.

The WSU Association for Faculty Women has honored Lori Carris with this year’s Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award. Carris is known for her advocacy for faculty women. She has served as chair of AFW as well as on a variety of other committees. Carris won the WSU Mentor of the Year Award in 2007 and was honored as a Woman of Distinction by WSU in 2009. She has been graduate coordinator in the Department of Plant Pathology and is admired for her mentoring and her engaging teaching style. She has been integral to the development of the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education workshop initiative and is a founding member of the Transformational Leadership and Training Group. Carris “has that rare synergistic ability to bring people together and catalyze them to produce more than they could have independently,” said one nominator. Another said Carris “affirms other women as leaders and promotes a supportive environment at WSU for all people.” The Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award was established in 2000 to show AFW’s appreciation to President Emeritus Smith for his leadership in advancing the role of women at WSU. The award is made to an AFW member whose leadership has helped women in the WSU system and/or those who have demonstrated leadership in higher education, the community or profession at the local, state, regional, national or international level. Judy Nichols Mitchell, former dean of the College of Education, won a special posthumous award.

Mark Mazzola, research plant pathologist with USDA-ARS in Wenatchee and adjunct professor in the plant pathology department, is a featured USDA-ARS News Maker this month. Mazzola has been studying the WWF version of the microbial world (no folding chairs allowed here!), taking a ring-side seat for some real bare-knuckle brawls among bacteria and amoebas in the soil. He’s finding that certain strains of Pseudomonad bacteria could be just the ticket to help protect young apple trees against the dreaded “apple replant disease.” For the full story and some exciting video, go to

The Washington State Horticultural Association presented Karen Lewis with the association’s highest honor at the annual meeting banquet on Dec. 8 in Wenatchee. The Golden Apple Award was presented by outgoing WSHA President Laura Mrachek. Karen was recognized for her research and extension contributions to the Washington State tree fruit industry. Karen is an extension educator in the Grant-Adams County area and is housed in Ephrata. She has worked with the tree fruit industry since her appointment to WSU in the fall of 1987. Karen’s programming efforts are focused on the integration of emerging technologies, orchard systems and people. Karen often challenges WSHA to bring a new dimension to the annual meeting. Seventeen years ago, she worked with the board to establish the Latino Education Session. The first year the session was a three-hour post conference meeting, and it attracted about 50 people. In years since, it has been standing room only with 400-600 people in attendance. The session has been a full day concurrent session at the annual meeting since Year Two. This year Karen asked if she could push the envelope and “beam in” a New Zealand colleague to co-present on a collaborative project. “The session chair felt so confident in our ability to pull this off, he asked Craig to give two talks in the session. It worked great, and I can see us using this technology on a regular basis,” said Karen. She expressed appreciation for the recognition, for sustained industry support and for the opportunity to work with industry members and the tree fruit research and extension community. In addition to the Golden Apple Award, Karen was selected for the Industry Miller Travel and Study Grant. The financial award of $2,000 will fund a trip to Europe in 2010. The purpose of the travel is to have face-to-face meetings with research colleagues at the University of Bonn and to have field time with several equipment manufacturers. This supports Karen’s program efforts in specialty crop automation and mechanization.

Happy Holidays!

The next issue of CAHNRS News will come out Jan. 15. Happy New Year!