As I was perusing yesterday’s WSU Today, I was pleased to see that four of the six top-of-the-page stories feature programs within the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. Obviously, this is great publicity for the college but, equally important, the stories vividly demonstrate the diversity of our mission and the outstanding programs that have been developed to address this mission.
The first story featured Mark Swanson, assistant professor in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences, and the students of his NATRS 419 class. Swanson and students teamed up with Sravasti Abbey, a Buddhist monastic community near Newport, Wash., to restore the forest surrounding the abbey. There is a great picture of the students with one of the monks who they taught how to measure trees and develop forest management plans.
The second feature story reported on Crop and Soil Sciences professor Diter Von Wettstein’s receipt of a $1.1 million grant from the Life Sciences Discovery Fund. The grant enables Diter to continue his work on developing gluten-free wheat for people who suffer from celiac disease. This is a great example of some of the “Big Science” work going on within the college.
Wednesday’s Big Tent public debate, “The Locavore’s Dilemma: Eating Locally, Does It Matter?” was featured in the third story. This event was moderated by Professor Kim Kidwell, associate dean for academic programs in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, and was held in conjunction with WSU’s Common Reading Program. This year, freshmen all over campus are reading “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan. Debaters under the Big Tent included CAHNRS students and alumni.
The fourth story featured CAHNRS’ highly successful viticulture and enology undergraduate degree and the high demand for the program’s graduates. The story contains some great anecdotes from our new director, Thomas Henick-Kling, as well as some of the V&E students.
CAHNRS is about engagement, and these features vividly demonstrate this point. This engagement includes our students involved in real-world experiences that augment their classroom learning and that impacts people’s lives. It also includes cutting-edge research that addresses real-world problems and translates to improvement in economic conditions, environmental quality, and/or quality of life.