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CAHNRS News – May 6

Posted by | May 6, 2011

Administrative Integration Task Force Report

As I am sure you are aware, over the past six months a CAHNRS Task Force has been working on identifying and evaluating alternative ways to integrate many of the administrative functions conducted across the college. I recently received the Task Force’s report and want to provide you with an update.

Some may wonder why we are considering how we are organized to complete the various administrative activities conducted within the college. The answer is really quite simple: our current silo-based approach of conducting administrative activities is no longer sustainable. As a result of budget reductions over the past three years, we have lost nearly 20 percent of our hard-funded administrative staff. Concurrently, expenditures and soft-funded research personnel have increased significantly due to success in acquiring extramural funding, and 30-plus percent increases in both graduate student and undergraduate enrollments. Finally, new administrative activities continue to be pushed to the college and its units from central administration. Resignations have occurred unevenly, resulting in some units being significantly under-staffed (two units have no permanently funded support staff).

The model proposed by the Task Force is to retain some staff in the units, while developing three administrative service “pods” distributed across the college’s primary on-campus locations. A PowerPoint presentation of the specific recommendations have been provided to unit leaders and administrative managers. We have also set up a link to this process on our main web page that will include the PowerPoint presentation, an FAQ, progress timeline and other information –

A few other questions that you might have are:

  • What is the timeline for implementation? Implementation will be a staged process, as some areas are more complicated than others. We will begin phasing in some of the recommendations this summer, with the goal of full implementation by July 1, 2012.
  • Will staff lose their jobs as a result of implementing this plan? Given our attrition to date, we do not believe that any loss of jobs will result from employing this approach. Some people’s job descriptions will certainly change, as many positions will be more specialized than in the past. The new structure will also provide more opportunity for advancement than our current organization.
  • Is anyone else using this approach? A version of this model has been successfully implemented in colleges similar to ours at Purdue, Idaho, and Oregon State. WSU’s College of Liberal Arts moved to a similar model last year.

Finally, I want to thank the members of the Task Force for their fine work. They have worked tirelessly over the past several months and developed their recommendations in a very participatory manner. The Task Force will continue to meet to discuss, evaluate, and identify “best management practices” to be used in various administrative functions. In addition to the website mentioned above, I will continue to keep you apprised of the developments and implementation of this integration.

Thank you for your cooperation,
Dean Bernardo

Washington State FFA Convention Slated for May 12 – 14

As one group of students leaves Pullman for the summer, another is arriving. 3,000 FFA members in blue blazers will flood the Washington State University campus May 12-14 to attend the 81st annual State FFA Convention. The convention is one of the largest youth gatherings in the Pacific Northwest. The convention holds state level competitions along with the pairing of several events hosted by the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences.

The purpose of State FFA Convention is to recognize the efforts and advancements made by Washington’s 8,000 FFA members and also serves as a culmination of the school year.

“The convention brings members together to compete in numerous career development events that teaches them life and agricultural skills. It’s also an opportunity for students to meet other students from around the state and create lifelong friendships,” said Paige Druffel, the current president of Washington State FFA.

Washington State FFA has teamed up with the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences to host hands-on educational workshops. The workshops touch on subjects ranging from dairy production to applying for scholarships and are known for engaging students in new and inventive ways.

“We hope the workshops on offer give FFA members an exciting glimpse of the majors at WSU and related career possibilities,” said Kate McIlraith, assistant director of recruitment and retention for CAHNRS. “We want FFA members to get excited about becoming WSU students. Every year, some of our most motivated, bright, and creative new students are FFA members. It is our experience that they quickly become leaders within CAHNRS and WSU.”

“These are ‘beyond the book’ opportunities for people to experience potential career options by engaging in activities related to the career path,” said Kim Kidwell, associate dean of academic programs. “If an FFA members wonders if they might be interested in a particular career path, they will have the chance to try it on for size, so to speak. Learning by doing is a CAHNRS specialty.”


Professor of crop and soil sciences Bill Pan was the featured speaker at a recent Innovators luncheon. Pan’s talk, called “Growing a Clean Energy Future: The power of renewable biofuels takes flight” is also the subject of a video available at

Jeff Culbertson, School of Food Science, won the William V. Cruess Award. The award honors an Institute of Food Technologists member for excellence in teaching food science and technology. Culbertson received this award for his steadfast commitment to being an advocate for students and the food science profession. More than 600 food professionals in the United States have participated in the several online master’s degree programs and an online certificate program Culbertson developed.

The WSU Association for Faculty Women presented the annual graduate student awards Thursday night, April 7. All three of the master’s degree student Founders Awards went to CAHNRS students:

  • Gitanjali Shrestha, human development, was awarded first place.
  • Changqing Zhou, entomology, took second place.
  • Sara V. Simmons, applied microeconomics, took third place.

Congratulations to Dr. Tobin Peever, associate professor of plant pathology. Dr. Peever was selected to receive the GPSA Faculty Advisor Excellence Award for 2011 ( He was recognized with this award at the GPSA Appreciation Banquet held in the Ensminger Pavillion on April 22.

“I’m interested in the future of the future,” says Dr. Robert Doniger in Michael Crichton’s Timeline. Dr. Axel Elling, assistant professor in the department of plant pathology, was selected to present the future of the discipline of nematology at the Schroth Faces of the Future in Nematology Symposium to be held at the annual meeting of the American Phytopathological Society in August 2011 in Honolulu.

The Faces of the Future Symposium Awards are created through an endowment established by Milt and Nancy Schroth. Speakers are selected through a competitive review process by the APS. This symposium is designed to acknowledge the new faces shaping the future of nematology, who are forward thinkers and are perceived to be the future leaders in the field of nematology. The speakers will be asked to present their research in a special session where they will have the opportunity to highlight their current work and speculate on the future directions of their discipline. In addition, the speakers will have the opportunity to submit a mini-review to be published as a fully citable APSnet feature, where they can highlight their philosophy and thinking about the future direction of their discipline.