As this issue arrives, I am delighted to be returning to CALS after a short-term tour of duty in Washington, D.C. Nine months ago, I was honored to be called to provide interim leadership for several key research agencies in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Now, after a truly remarkable experience with the agency, I am even more honored to be returning home.
The USDA was founded in the same year as our land-grant system of higher education, and the opportunity to work as part of the agency’s leadership team has given me a new perspective on our national research, education and extension system. My assignment was profoundly enlightening, and I return with new insights and new friends that will help me be a better dean—and help CALS become even more effective in carrying out its missions.
I want to thank everyone in the university and the community who helped me take on this challenging role. I can’t say enough about the outstanding leadership that Irwin Goldman provided as interim dean. Under his steady guidance, and with the talents of his excellent team, CALS has not missed a beat. Indeed, we’re coming off a year of historic accomplishment. Our community championed a landmark reform to our degree requirements and began a self-study that will shape the future of our academic affairs. Our faculty, staff and students continued to find new ways to build partnerships with the communities we serve and improve our economic and social well-being. And our alumni have responded with heartwarming strength to our call to help maintain the affordability of a UW-Madison education through gifts to the Wisconsin Rural Youth Scholarship Fund and other need-based scholarships.
As I return and begin my fifth year of service to CALS, I believe we have so much to celebrate, and yet there is so much more that we can do. In Washington I saw both the impact of our land-grant system and the great challenge in maintaining its resources. But I am proud to be leading a college that has always responded to such challenges with innovation, information and inspiration.