While some of our constituents still refer to us as the “College of Ag,” I appreciate the breadth and diversity captured in our full name — the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. The “big H” in CAHNRS represents all of the human sciences in the college, which includes human development, economics and the design disciplines. Each has deep roots in our land-grant tradition, continues to attract large numbers of students and is vital to addressing the issues and problems that our stakeholders face today.
As a college, we have not only made great scientific contributions to agriculture and allied disciplines, but groundbreaking practical advances in the many related industries. Over the years, we have made equally important gains in the human sciences, including the design disciplines: apparel merchandising, design and textiles; interior design; and landscape architecture.
Traditionally, all of the design disciplines have had outstanding undergraduate programs and large enrollments. But, there is much more to each department; recent efforts are focused on increasing the depth and range of our research and creative scholarship.
Design faculty are engaged in cutting-edge, interdisciplinary investigations that are making a difference on many levels. For example, textiles scientist and AMDT chair Karen Leonas is leading a project to develop a biodegradable fabric mulch to replace the expensive, petroleum-based black plastic that so many specialty crop growers currently use. In interior design and landscape architecture, faculty members are using sustainability as a guiding principle for creating spaces inside and out.
During this time of shrinking resources, the science, art, precision and creativity that CAHNRS design professionals bring to their work is of unlimited value to the people and businesses of Washington and beyond.