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Update from the Vice Chancellor and Dean

Winter 2009

Welcome to the Vice Chancellor and Dean update, an overview of recent and upcoming events and initiatives from the office of the Vice Chancellor and Dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences.

More than ever, I'm excited about leading such a dynamic and diverse organization. Each day, I have the privilege of overseeing the outstanding activities of our network of agencies, including the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas AgriLife Research, the Texas Forest Service and the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory as well as the efforts of our students and faculty in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M.

The following items are our 'keystones to success' and in the days ahead, I will work to implement each in a variety of ways:

  • Recruit, Retain, and Reward Employees
  • Secure & Efficiently Manage Needed Resources
  • Provide New Opportunities for Our Faculty, Staff, & Students
  • Enhance Information Technology & Communications

One of the most pressing issues is the Texas legislative session which affects many of the previous items. Joe Cox serves as our Assistant Vice Chancellor for External Relations assisted by Cristina Cornejo, our new Program Coordinator for External Relations. Throughout the spring, I will be working closely with our external relations team and each of our agency directors to tell our story to the Texas legislature during the session. Our first major opportunity is Tuesday, February 10, when each of our agencies will go before the Senate Finance Committee.

My vision is for our students, faculty and programs to be the best that this state, nation and world have to offer...and each of you are making this vision a reality every day. Keep up the good work.

Dr. Mark A. Hussey
Vice Chancellor and Dean, Agriculture and Life Sciences

Texas A&M AgriLife Conference

Texas A&M AgriLife started off 2009 with more than 800 people gathering in College Station to celebrate the accomplishments from the last year.

AgriLife Conference photo

2009 Texas A&M AgriLife Conference

Kyle Smith speaking at the AgriLife Conference

The conference kicked off with the keynote general session (emceed by Kyle Smith, Executive Associate Director, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, seen above) where Texas A&M System Chancellor Mike McKinney welcomed the crowd and introduced Vice Chancellor and Dean Mark Hussey who gave an overview of his goals and first steps. The combined emergency response capabilities of the Texas Forest Service (TFS), the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL), and Texas AgriLife Extension Service, were presented by Tom Boggus, Interim Director of TFS, Andy Vestal, professor and extension specialist, and Tammy Beckham, Director of TVMDL.

Additionally, Ed Price, Associate Vice Chancellor for International Agriculture provided an overview of some of the international programs currently underway around the world. Recent Aggie graduates Jonathon Glueck and Blaze Curry outlined their recent efforts to start "4-H style" youth programs in Iraq.

2009 Conference Award Winners

Award Winners at the AgriLife Conference

One of the highlights of the conference was honoring outstanding partners and members of the AgriLife family through the awards presented at the conference (some award recipients can be seen above). To learn more about the outstanding accomplishments and contributions of the winners, check the Awards & Recognition site as it's updated to reflect those recognized at the conference.

For Your Information

AgriLife Administrative Leadership Program

Developing leaders for our organization is one of my highest priorities. Ensuring that we mentor and grow people who will lead is essential, so I have started a pilot program this January called the AgriLife Administrative Leadership Program. Partnering with Texas Engineering Extension (TEEX), six AgriLife participants will spend the next 18 months developing key leadership skills such as visioning, strategic planning, teamwork and more. They will also be participating in additional sessions targeted at specific issues facing AgriLife. Join me in congratulating the initial class from across Texas A&M AgriLife:

  • Dr. Gary Acuff, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
  • Mr. Burl Carraway, Texas Forest Service
  • Dr. Darrell Dromgoole, Texas AgriLife Extension Service
  • Dr. Gayne Fearneyhough, Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory
  • Dr. Tom Gerik, Texas AgriLife Research
  • Dr. Ann Kenimer, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

Agricultural & Natural Resources Policy Interns Attend the Presidential Inauguration

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14 students from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are serving as interns in Washington, DC through the ANRP Internship Program this spring. The short video above (Adobe Flash v.9 required) was created by some of these interns from photos from the Presidential Inauguration events on January 20, 2009.

Or meet all of the students at the Internship Program web site.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility Site Dedication

A site dedication for a new nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) building was held on Friday, January 23, 2009 on the Texas A&M campus. The building is a joint partnership between Texas A&M University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Texas A&M Health Science Center and Texas AgriLife Research. Speakers included Texas A&M Board of Regents Chairman Bill Jones, Chancellor Mike McKinney, A&M Health Science Center President Nancy Dickey, Texas A&M President Elsa Murano and interim Texas AgriLife Research Director Bill Dugas.

Located on the TAMU west campus and slated for completion in the spring of 2010, the $15 million dollar facility will offer approximately 36,000 square feet for instrumentation and laboratories. NMR spectroscopy is a core technology in basic and applied research in the molecular life sciences. Researchers from the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, as well as other faculty researching structural and computational biology groups will use the space for research that holds promise for potential drug discoveries and disease understanding.

Administrative Appointments

I am pleased to announce several new members of my administrative team, each of whom adds both experience and a wealth of insight to help me in leading Texas A&M AgriLife. Some of these are recent appointments, while others have been here a few months.

We will be moving ahead this spring to fill other critical leadership positions that are open across Texas A&M AgriLife, including Directors of both Texas AgriLife Research and the Texas Forest Service as well as the Executive Associate Dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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