KRVN Interview for August 1, 2015

Listen in on my recent interview with KRVN about the IANR Roads Scholar Tour that is taking place this week -

http://real.unl.edu/podcast/IANR_Radio/ianr080115.mp3

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August – A Month Ripe with Anticipation

It is hard to believe we have already reached the month of August for 2015.  August for me is always a month ripe with anticipation – looking ahead to a new school year for K-12 children, as well as higher education; looking forward to the end of another growing season and hope for bountiful harvest; looking forward to another Husker football season; and looking forward to a sea of new faces in the incoming class of our students who will grace our campus, classrooms, and cultural life for the years ahead.

This is an unparalleled year for me personally as well, as I am entering the school year ahead with the opportunity to work with all of our academic enterprise across the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus as senior vice chancellor for academic affairs while continuing to serve in my usual IANR role.  I consider it a rare privilege to work with a highly talented team of academic leaders across the campus at a time when we are at an inflection point in meeting the UNL goals of enrollment growth to 30K students, $300M in research expenditures, 160 additional tenure-track faculty, enhanced graduation rates, and the full launching of phase I of Nebraska Innovation Campus.  We are so well poised to not only meet but exceed these goals in the years ahead!  And, there is no doubt in my mind we will reach even higher success if the campus works together across all of our boundaries, whether they be east or west campus, or across colleges, departments, centers, and institutes.

In the coming weeks, I am going to have the chance to immerse myself into all of the academic affairs colleges across the campus – I am looking forward to that very much and know I will not only find them on a path to success in meeting these goals, but will be amazed at the impacts being made across the board.  I have already been pleased to find that each of the colleges is strategically positioning themselves nationally and internationally in ways that will lead UNL to greater heights.  While we have work to do, particularly in some areas, we are clearly well on our way.

As I move into the weeks ahead in anticipation of the new academic year, I also must admit I am doing so with a refreshed perspective.  As I am writing this blog, I am on a plane coming home from spending the past week as a part of a mission team of Lincolnites on a Habitat for Humanity build in Ahuachapan, El Salvador.  My wife Jane and our daughters Kelli and Regan had participated the past two years with this team from our local Sheridan Lutheran church family.  Jane thought this would be a particularly good year for me to go as well for a number of reasons – including knowing the year ahead at UNL would be a fun but challenging one for us in covering all of the bases.  It was a wise decision.

While we are rightly concerned about increasing our national and international reach and reputation as a prominent leader in higher education, it is so easy to lose sight of how graceful and blessed our lives are amongst the 7.3B people of today’s world.  Words cannot describe how fortunate we are…….abundant and safe food and water, safe and highly comfortable shelter, a level of general wealth previously unseen in history, abundant natural resources, freedom to live and travel as we choose, ability for creative expression, and of course – being at the center of the innovation engine that has driven the world for the past 150 years – America’s higher education system.  The vast majority of the world’s people do not enjoy very many of the items in this list.

This past week while I was helping to build a septic system for a new Habitat home for a young Salvadoran family, I was reminded it is equally (and perhaps more) important we look not only “inside” at what we want UNL to be, but outside to remember the power of education, research, and translational extension.  Inward focus would keep us worried about metrics defined in ways that seek to measure us in comparison to our peers in ways that are likely not the most meaningful; i.e., are we as big, do we raise as much money, do we bring in as many federal dollars, do we have as many members of the National Academies, do we rank up there with our Big10 peers, are we in the “elite” list of academe, etc.?

Perhaps the real questions should be ones like how are we impacting every student with whom we have the opportunity to work, mentor, and help to critically think about the world?  How many of those students are ones who have a whole new world opened up to them with the education they are receiving; i.e., who thought they would never have such an amazing opportunity?  How are we equipping them to be productive citizens of an increasingly complex world ahead?  How is the research and creative work we are doing everyday adding to increased human quality of life for Nebraskans and people around the world?

What I know is if we remind ourselves every day of the unbelievable opportunity we have to make a difference in the lives of those around us in our classrooms, our labs, our studios, our clinics, and our fields – we will be changing the world as a world-leading, forward-thinking, dynamic and exciting 21st century Land-Grant University.  I hope you will join me in attacking the next year with a renewed sense of unbelievable blessing that we can spread to the world through the 25,000+ students gracing our presence – what a privilege and honor we have been given!

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An Idea Five Years Ago, is Changing Communities Today!

Our idea from five years ago is beginning to be recognized as a wise one -

World-Herald editorial: NU steps up on rural needs

A frequent question in Nebraska is: What are the best ways to bolster rural communities?

Over the past few years the University of Nebraska has taken steps to identify options and opportunities. The vehicle for this initiative is the Rural Futures Institute, created in 2012.

Just as NU stands tall nationally and internationally in fields such as plant science and water-policy studies, so the Rural Futures Institute is an institution that other states are increasingly looking to as a source of practical-focused information and research on rural issues.  Continue reading

 

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KRVN Interview for July 25, 2015

Listen in on my recent interview with KRVN about the latest happenings at Nebraska Innovation Campus - http://real.unl.edu/podcast/IANR_Radio/ianr072515.mp3

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C.Y. Thompson Library Town Hall Meetings

IANR and the University Libraries will be holding Town Hall meetings for faculty, staff, and students to learn about the vision and plans for the new CYT Learning Commons on East Campus.

The meetings will be held in the C.Y. Thompson Library on Monday, September 14, 3:30-5:00 p.m. and Friday, September 18, 3:30-5:00 p.m..

Nancy Busch, Dean of Libraries, and I will lead the conversations.

All are welcome to attend.

For more information, please contact Nancy J Busch at 402-472-2526 or nbusch2@unl.edu.

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KRVN Interview for July 18, 2015

Listen in on my recent interview with KRVN about all of the exciting construction going on UNL’s East Campus - http://real.unl.edu/podcast/IANR_Radio/ianr071815.mp3

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KRVN Interview for July 11, 2015

I recently had the opportunity to visit with KRVN about the IANR Leadership Retreat -

http://real.unl.edu/podcast/IANR_Radio/ianr071115.mp3

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KRVN Interview for July 4, 2015

Listen in on my recent interview with KRVN, discussing my new additional role as the Interim UNL Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

http://real.unl.edu/podcast/IANR_Radio/ianr070415.mp3

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We Salute Our Retiring Faculty & Staff

Faculty and staff represent the most important asset to the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources in achieving its tri-partite mission of education, research, and translational extension. Today marks the end of an academic and fiscal year for us, and it has been a particularly monumental year, including the retirement of a large number of our faculty and staff.  UNL and IANR wishes to thank those who have recently retired for their dedication, commitment, and immeasurable contributions in making IANR a world-class leading institution in agriculture, natural resources and human sciences. IANR today is on the leading edge of food production, environmental stewardship, human nutrition, business development and youth engagement due to the collective efforts of these individuals and they will be deeply missed. Collectively these professionals have given 924 years of faculty service and 634 years of staff service to UNL and IANR.  We wish them the very best in the years ahead for them and their families!

The following are faculty and staff who have retired since July 1, 2014:

  • Tony Anderson, West Central Research and Extension Center, 35 years of service
  • Alan Baquet, Center for Grassland Studies, 17 years of service
  • Donald Beermann, Animal Science Department, 16 years of service
  • James Brandle, School of Natural Resources, 40 years of service
  • Janice Burton, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, 18 years of service
  • Paul Clark, Nebraska School of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, 6 years of service
  • Kathi Cockrill, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, 28 years of service
  • Dennis Conley, Agricultural Economics, 27 years of service
  • LuAnn Detwiler, IANR Finance and Personnel, 29 years of service
  • Mark Dragastin, Animal Science Department, 30 years of service
  • Gladys Earhart, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, 7 years of service
  • Sharon Eichner, 4-H Youth Development, 15 years of service
  • Dean Eisenhauer, Biological Systems Engineering Department, 40 years of service
  • Patricia Fairchild, Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication, 15 years of service
  • Patricia Freeman, School of Natural Resources, 34 years of service
  • Gary Gooding, Educational Media, 18 years of service
  • Richard Goodding II, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, 41 years of service
  • Janice Hamer, Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication, 14 years of service
  • Gary Hergert, Panhandle Research and Extension Center, 40 years of service
  • Laurie Hodges, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, 26 years of service
  • Thomas Hoegemeyer, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, 6 years of service
  • Kenneth Hubbard, School of Natural Resources, 34 years of service
  • Scott Hygnstrom, School of Natural Resources, 27 years of service
  • Lanny Keasling, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, 16 year of service
  • Leslie Korte, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, 41 years of service
  • Mark Kuzila, School of Natural Resources, 40 years of service
  • Lillian Larsen, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, 38 years of service
  • Bryan Mach, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, 32 years of service
  • Rodney Martens, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, 17 years of service
  • David Marx, Department of Statistics, 26 years of service
  • Richard Meyer, Animal Science Department, 43 years of service
  • Gordon Moeller, Panhandle Research and Extension Center, 11 years of service
  • Anne Moore, Educational Media, 43 years of service
  • Merlyn Nielsen, Animal Science Department, 41 years of service
  • Thomas Nightingale, Panhandle Research and Extension Center, 40 years of service
  • Barbara Ogg, Southeast Research and Extension Center, 20 years of service
  • Robert O’Neill, Panhandle Research and Extension Center, 31 years of service
  • Janet Owens, Educational Media, 15 years of service
  • Anne Parkhurst, Department of Statistics, 46 years of service
  • Barbara Pike, Department of Statistics, 11 years of service
  • Jalayne Reining, Nebraska Extension, 14 years of service
  • Barbara Scharf, West Central Research and Extension Center, 35 years of service
  • Dennis Schulte, Biological Systems Engineering Department, 37 years of service
  • Catherine Schultz, Southeast Research and Extension Center, 11 years of service
  • David Shelton, Northeast Research and Extension Center, 39 years of service
  • Bernice Sieber, School of Natural Resources, 40 years of service
  • Robert Spreitzer, Department of Biochemistry, 31 years of service
  • Mary Stevens, Nebraska Local Technical Assistance Program, 36 years of service
  • Susan Kay Voss, College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources, 28 years of service
  • Diane Vigna, Department of Textiles, Merchandising, and Fashion Design, 19 years of service
  • Robert Weatherly Jr., Agricultural Research and Development Center, 10 years of service
  • Don Weeks, Department of Biochemistry, 26 years of service
  • Donald Westover, Nebraska Forest Service, 40 years of service
  • Susan Williams, Southeast Research and Extension Center, 32 years of service
  • Michael Zeece, Food Science and Technology Department, 31 years of service

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KRVN Interview for June 27, 2015

Listen in on my recent interview with KRVN, discussing the National 4-H Shooting Sports Competition held on June 21-16.

http://real.unl.edu/podcast/IANR_Radio/ianr062715.mp3

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