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CAHNRS News – February 26, 2010

Posted by | February 26, 2010

Budget Update from Olympia

As I am certain you have read in the local press, both the Washington State Senate and House operating budgets were released Tuesday. Here is the abbreviated version:

  • The Senate Budget reduces WSU’s appropriation by $13.7 million (just a little over the Governor’s proposed budget), which translates to a reduction of approximately 6 percent, relative to the level budgeted for FY 2011.
  • The House Budget is a little more complicated. It reduces WSU’s appropriation by $5.5 million. However, this figure only applies if WSU imposes mandatory furloughs for the maximum number of days included in the “furlough bill” passed last week. If we do not take these furlough days (and the President has reaffirmed that we will not), the bill reduces our FY 2011 appropriation by approximately $8.6 million.
  • Therefore, it is very likely that WSU’s reduction will range somewhere between $8.6 million and $13.7 million.
  • Ag research funds will not be reduced disproportionately. In fact, this statement was specifically mentioned in the House Higher Education Committee meeting when the higher education reductions were rolled out.

Despite one local reporter’s attempt to frame this as a disastrous outcome, those who follow this process closely definitely feel otherwise. Yes, it is difficult to take additional reductions, given those imposed last year; however, one has to feel encouraged about the proposed treatment of higher education, given the projected $2.8 billion deficit. Of course, we are relieved that the threat to ag research funds did not come to fruition. We are very appreciative of our ag stakeholder friends coming to our rescue and squelching this ill-conceived proposal.

For more information, on the state budget, please see the WSU Olympia Update at

WSU Prosser Hires Project Manager/Communications Specialist

The Washington State University Irrigation Agriculture Research & Extension Center welcomes Tracie Arnold as a project manager and communications specialist. She brings with her over seven years of experience in public relations/communications, and most recently held the position of communications director for the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce in Kennewick. She possesses a degree in public relations from Gonzaga University.

Arnold was hired to work with a WSU research team led by plant physiologist Matthew Whiting. The team has been awarded $3.8 million from a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant aimed at specialty crops. The project is entitled “A Total Systems Approach to Developing a Sustainable, Stem-free Sweet Cherry Production, Processing and Marketing System.” This project’s long-term goal is to improve the sustainability of the U.S. sweet cherry industry by developing a highly efficient production, processing, and marketing system for fresh market quality sweet cherries. The biggest threat to the sweet cherry industry is its dependence on hand labor for harvest, accounting for approximately 60 percent of annual production costs. This is addressed with an integrative project for developing mechanical and/or mechanical assist harvest technologies. Meaningful and sustainable impact on industry will require innovation, discovery and outreach that integrate the total value chain, from genetics and breeding to processing and marketing. This project will address the industry’s highest rated research priority with a total system, trans-disciplinary research and outreach project that has its genesis in stakeholder input.

Working Effectively with the Media Workshop

March 3, 2010, 8:30 – 3:30 p.m., WSU Alumni Centre, Pullman

Join us for a day-long seminar on how to work more effectively with newspaper, radio and television reporters. Be ready when they call; make the most of your time with them. This workshop is designed for all CAHNRS and WSU Extension faculty who work with the media. Led by professionals in CAHNRS Marketing, News, and Educational Communications unit, this session will help you better understand how the commercial media works and how to best tell the story of your work during an interview. This is a hands-on workshop! We will be taping interviews with all participants, providing feedback and suggestions for a successful media event. Participants will be asked to provide a brief summary of their work or research to the trainers by March 1.

Enrollment is on a first-come, first served basis and is limited to the first 15. Register now by visiting More information is available by contacting Kathy Barnard or Brian Clark, CAHNRS Marketing, News, and Educational Communications, 509.335.2243.

Putting Content into Context: Using Case Studies to Foster Interactive Learning

Due to popular demand, this workshop is a repeat of last fall’s “Using Case Studies for Effective Teaching.”

Case studies can teach students how the process of science works in addition to teaching the content of science. Case-study teaching also fosters the development of higher-order learning skills. By the end of the workshop, you will learn about different types of case studies, how to run a case study in the classroom, and how different types of materials can be used to develop cases.

Expected outcomes of the workshop include:

  1. Experience in the case study method as a participant.
  2. Learn specific strategies and tips for managing an active classroom and fostering interactive learning.

This workshop is another in the Experiential Learning Workshop series offered by CAHNRS Academic Programs. Attendance is free, but seating is limited. Please sign up early to ensure a seat.

Date: Wednesday, March 3

Time: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: CUE 518

To register, contact Becky Dueben at 335-8403 or

This workshop will not be offered by WHETS. We are currently working to get all of our workshops available via WHETS for urban campus employees as well as Pullman campus employees. We expect to have availability to all campuses later this semester.


Cinde Johnson, AP with WSU Extension in Spokane, just received recognition for her 10 year milestone at WSU. For seven years, Cinde was the Master Gardener Program Coordinator in Spokane County where she managed a program of over 100 volunteers to provide community education on research-based sustainable gardening. For three years, Cinde has been the project coordinator for the WSU Extension Online Master Gardener Training course, which is in use now by Master Gardener trainees across the state. Cinde worked with the Center for Distance and Professional Education to develop the online training program, which makes Master Gardener training more consistent from county to county; delivers higher quality interactive learning opportunities than the standard lecture format; and saves time and travel costs for WSU faculty.

Dennis Roe, longtime NRCS soil conservationist, now semi-retired, received the Washington Association of Conservation District’s 2009 Professional Service Award in December. The award recognizes his several decades of excellent conservation assistance to landowners of Eastern Washington, commitment to voluntary conservation, and his working to provide economically viable farming solutions to area producers.

Andrew Schultz, viticulture and enology undergraduate student at WSU Tri-Cities, received recognition at the recent Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers annual meeting in Kennewick for his presentation “Strengthening Undergraduate Education in V&E Program at WSU through Hands-on Research Experiences.” Schultz was recognized along with his co-authors Julia Kock, Tefera Mekuria, Joan Davenport, and Naidu Rayapati.