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March 2017

Time flies in the spring and just as the temperature begins to warm and buds quicken, the excitement of soon-to-be graduates is palpable. Students are coming to the Dean's Office to pick up the achievement badges they have earned throughout their time as undergraduates, and it is wonderful to see the joy in their faces as they contemplate completing their degrees and launching their careers. Many are in the throes of seeking acceptance into graduate school and a very select and fortunate few are beside themselves because they have made it into veterinary school.

Wherever they go, I know that they will represent our faculty well, not only for having taught them, but also for helping them stretch beyond what they thought were their limits. CASNR is proud of its graduates!

Caula A. Beyl, Dean

CASNR's Advising Model Prepares Students to Excel

From Brent Lamons, CASNR Director of Advising
Many exciting things are going on behind the scenes concerning our students' success! CASNR adheres to and practices a very holistic model of student success, support, and service. At its center is our faculty advising model, something that we are justifiably proud of and which undoubtedly contributes to the excellent retention, graduation, and placement of our students. Relationships with faculty built upon mentorship, good advising, great teaching, and professional development contribute to this, and in the coming months we will further enhance the college's commitment to student success and development as we add three Student Success Advisors. Learn how they will contribute, plus more here.

Our Distinguished New Herbert Scholars Program

The CASNR Dean's Office is very proud to announce we are home to the newly created Herbert Scholars Program. UT alumni James and Judi Herbert established this impressive professional development program to enable five to eight CASNR undergraduates to fully engage in outstanding summer hands-on learning experiences without the burden of personal financial obligations. Herbert Scholars will use those experiences to lay a strong foundation for future success as leaders in the agricultural and natural resources industry. Opportunities open to Herbert Scholars include internships, fieldwork, and laboratory research. Visit here to see more examples of experiential learning. You can read more about the Herbert Scholars Program here and access the application here. The deadline to apply is April 3. Please contact the CASNR Dean's Office at (865) 974-7303 if you would like more information.

Neogen's President on Where Our Degrees Can Take You

For students, sometimes it helps to learn from someone who's been there before you. Rick Calk earned a degree in Food Science and Technology at CASNR in 1984 and now is the president and chief operating officer of Neogen, an international company that James Herbert—see item above—helped found and led for many years. Today Neogen employs more than 1,200 people and provides test kits and relevant products that detect dangerous substances in food and safeguard animal health.

Mr. Calk visited campus recently to talk with students. You can listen, too, thanks to a TN Magic Moments podcast.

Meet Our Top VOL Justin Teel

Watch as Justin Crawford, host of UT's official talk show on the Volunteer Channel, interviews Dalton Teel, pictured above left. This sophomore Agriculture and Communications major is one of the first two students honored by the Student Homecoming Committee as Rocky Top Royalty Top Volunteers. Students university-wide voted for nominees based on their novel ideas of service projects and overall engagement. "Getting to be backed by (everyone in CASNR) and also be an advocate for my entire college at that level and platform was pretty awesome," Dalton says. Here's a link to the YouTube video.

Biosystems Lecturer Andrew Sherfy Honored

The UT Knoxville Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science has been working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) and the Knox County Adopt-A-Watershed Program to develop a scientific problem-solving course focused on watershed science. This cooperative effort includes the creation and review of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) lesson plans; development of interactive laboratory sessions and outdoor exercises; and connection of high school students to UT professors. The program is being piloted at the L&N STEM Academy magnet school in downtown Knoxville

While a number of BESS faculty have supported this initiative, Lecturer and NRCS Liaison Andrew Sherfy, shown above collaborating with students, has been recognized by OSMRE for contributing his time, effort, and expertise to lead the development of this new STEM-specific course curricula.You can learn more about the effort here.

Thinking Globally

A Student with Classrooms in Three Nations

Jack Hartfelder has taken his studies outside, far outside. This Wildlife and Fisheries Science major considers Thailand and Belize his classrooms, and most recently, Swaziland, a small country in southern Africa. From a highly competitive national call, Jack was selected to join the five-student cohort of the University of Florida International Research Experience for Students program (UF-IRES). This summer program in Swaziland consists of a three-week study abroad experience followed by nearly two months devoted to conducting individual research alongside faculty mentors from the University of Florida, the University of Swaziland, and the University of Cape Town. Read about Jack's experiences here.

Laying a Foundation for Food Security in Rwanda

Food security for citizens, young and older, is the goal of a UTIA effort underway in the central east African nation of Rwanda.

A team from UTIA arrived in Rwanda in late January to kickstart a small farmer poultry initiative in partnership with USAID/Rwanda, Zamura Feeds Ltd., and the African Sustainable Agricultural Projects Foundation (ASAP), launched by UT alum and former Tyson CEO Donnie Smith, '80. More.

Exploring Partnerships with a Chinese University

Last month, a four-member delegation from China's Jilin Agricultural University traveled to Knoxville to explore teaching and research partnerships. Visitors included Qu Zhengwen (Assistant to the University President), Li Yadong (Professor, College of Horticulture), Liu Shuyan (Professor, College of Agriculture), and Wei Xiaoming (Dean, International Cooperation and Exchange Office). Shown meeting with them above are, on left, Dr. Max Cheng, professor in the Department of Plant Sciences; at center are Dr. Tom Gill, International Programs Director and Smith Chair, and CASNR Associate Dean John Stier; and, third from the right, is Dr. David White, an Associate Dean and Associate Director of UT AgResearch.

To learn about the many, diverse study-abroad opportunities available to CASNR students, visit ag.tennessee.edu/casnr/studyabroad or stop by the UTIA International Programs Office in 110 Morgan Hall.

The Can-Structed Bridge

Last semester, seven University of Tennessee construction science students used canned foods to build a replica of the Henley Street Bridge. Their model was one of thirteen entries in the Knoxville Can-Struction Competition. The construction science students' entry was a spectacular rendition of the iconic bridge. At fourteen feet long and five feet tall, using water bottles and LED lights to serve as the Tennessee River, and more LED's at the top to spread holiday cheer, the bridge was a lovely tribute to downtown Knoxville. On the day of competition, the team members spent five hours stacking and securing 2,814 cans to form the precisely scaled replica. The cans were collected with funds provided by the Tennessee Road Builders Association.

Once created and displayed, the structures are disassembled and the cans are donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank. In the past, most of the food has stayed in Knox County, but in the wake of the devastating wildfires last fall in the Sevier County area, many of the cans went there. As a result of the creativity and generosity of all who participated, many East Tennessee families were more food secure during the holiday season.

Meet Genomics Professor Feng Chen

In his teaching philosophy, Dr. Feng Chen of the Department of Plant Sciences says he views teaching and research as "inseparable components of academic scholarship. Research provides the knowledge base for teaching, and teaching disseminates research findings."

Dr. Chen says, "I aim my academic career at both performing original scientific research and being an educator to impart this knowledge to younger generations."

The essence of college and graduate school education, he believes, is actually self-education, with teachers as facilitators. Learn more about his perspective here.

Alpha Gamma Rho Named UT Fraternity of the Year

At the UT Greek Awards program in February, the Alpha Kappa Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho was honored as fraternity of the year. Members are jubilant about the honor and very thankful for the support they have received from Institute of Agriculture.

A high percentage of AGR members are either students in our college, from a farming background, or former members of FFA or 4-H, and often all three, so CASNR and the Institute always have enjoyed a close relationship with this professional-social fraternity. Across 66 years, UT's AGR chapter has served nearly 1,300 young men with its goal "to make better men." We are justly proud of the chapter and invite you to learn more about it.

FFA Members Visit on Goodwill & Varsity Tours

Faculty, staff, and students saw familiar blue jackets on campus when 280 FFA members from East and Middle Tennessee visited last month. The youth came to hear state FFA officers speak during a stop on the officers' statewide Goodwill Tour. The FFA members also toured the university while here.

Last November, our number of Tennessee FFA visitors was even higher. Some 600 youth from across the state participated in a FFA Varsity Visit. The members spent a weekend learning about the opportunities UT offers and participating in workshops designed to enhance their leadership and personal development. The Department of Agriculture Leadership, Education and Communications hosted the visit with assistance from the CASNR Dean's Office and CASNR Ambassadors. More about their visits here.

HungerU Inspires Us All

We in CASNR were excited to host a visit by HungerU in October. The visit raised student awareness of issues connected to hunger, both in the U.S. and around the world, as well as how they can be a part of the solution—personally and professionally.

HungerU is a free exhibit that travels to campuses throughout the nation to raise awareness of nutrition security issues. Its philosophy is that students of all disciplines have the potential to be part of the global hunger solution now and throughout their lifetimes. The exhibit uses everything from dynamic conversation to interactive tools, including a six-foot remote-controlled T-Rex, to capture students' attention and teach them important facts about global food insecurity. HungerU's staff of recent graduates and young professionals share the information with students as peers. You can find more about HungerU on Facebook and Instagram.

Our Heartfelt Thanks

The fourth Big Orange Give online giving campaign gave CASNR many reasons to be thankful. The campaign, which ran the week prior to Thanksgiving, exceeded nearly every fundraising goal it set! CASNR sped past its original goal of $20,000 on Tuesday and, by week's end, over $34,000 had been raised.

Contributions support scholarships for incoming and enrolled students. Donations to individual VOLstarter crowdfunding projects also counted during the online campaign. Three achieved their goals during the week, and a fourth reached its goal just days later. Three of these were for UTIA projects.

"It is clear that our alumni and friends truly believe in the real-life solutions UTIA strives to create each and every day," says Chancellor Tim Cross. "The overwhelming support enables our colleges to work even harder educating our students, researching for our future, and providing outreach for our community."

The VOLstarter project for the UT Gardens, Knoxville received more than $22,000 to support research, education, and community outreach in the State Botanical Garden. This set a new record for amounts UT projects have raised through the crowdfunding platform. We thank you for making these opportunities possible and invite you to read comments from people whose lives have been enhanced because of the support Big Orange Give receives from alumni and friends. You can find the article here.

Seniors, Join in Commemorating Your Class Year

Each year, graduating students take part in Senior Impact. By contributing an amount that matches your class year—$20.17 for 2017—you celebrate your class year as you advance your alma mater. These modest contributions add up to big impacts indeed. Our college expresses its appreciation for your support with a CASNR pin and commemorative Senior Impact cords you can wear at graduation.

"Seniors have witnessed the impact of philanthropy across campus during their time and are ready to make the next step by giving back," says Gina Martin, director for the Center of Student Alumni Programs. "Students are grasping that every gift truly makes a difference, and to do their part by making a gift of any size year after year."

We invite our seniors to make their own Senior Impact by visiting AdvanceUTIA.com/seniorgift.

Important Dates Ahead

  • Monday, March 13, through Friday, March 17—Spring Break
  • Monday, April 3—Deadline for Herbert Scholars applications
  • Friday, April 14—Spring Recess
  • Friday, April 28—Classes End
  • Monday, May 1—Study Day
  • Tuesday, May 2, through Tuesday, May 9—Exams
  • Wednesday, May 10, 10:00 a.m.—CASNR Graduation Practice—Location: Hollingsworth Auditorium
  • Thursday, May 11, 8:30 a.m.—CASNR Graduation—Location: Thompson Boling Assembly Center and Arena

Contact Us

CASNR Office of the Dean
2621 Morgan Circle Drive  ·  126 Morgan Hall  ·  Knoxville, TN 37996
(865) 974-7303
casnr@utk.edu  ·  www.casnr.utk.edu

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