Scott Smith became the eighth Dean and Director of the University
of Kentucky College of Agriculture in January 2001. As Dean, Smith
is responsible for all facets of the College, including teaching,
Extension, and research programs. Shortly after assuming the duties
of Dean, we asked him about his vision for the College. Following
are the questions and his responses.
the new dean of the College of Agriculture, what do you see as the
most important issues facing Kentuckians in terms of agriculture,
families, youth, and communities?
transitions in Kentucky agriculture are well publicized and widely
discussed. Dramatic changes in tobacco production and marketing
have combined with the broader forces on agriculture worldwide to
create substantial challenges for our family farms and our communities
dependent on a strong agricultural economy.
I believe that despite these challenges, Kentucky agriculture can
have a great, prosperous future. Achieving the future we want, however,
will require strong leadership from the agricultural sector, wise
public policies that nurture agriculture, investments in the infrastructure
of agriculture, and a continuing stream of research, Extension and
educational programs from the College of Agriculture that focuses
on the needs of Kentucky.
Now, more than
ever, those of us in the College of Agriculture must address a broad
range of issues which are an important part of the food, agriculture,
and natural resource system. Many of these issues are wider in scope
than our more traditional contributions in crop and animal production.
We will need to develop the expertise to address these issues by
both refocusing our efforts and hiring faculty members with the
these issues, how do you see the College of Agriculture helping
Kentuckians address them?
in Kentucky and around the nation is being asked to play a substantially
increasing role in economic and community development. I believe
Kentuckys land-grant system of integrated research, teaching
and Extension provides the best model for addressing these expectations.
Specifically, I see five areas in which the College of Agriculture
can help address Kentuckys needs:
We must continue our commitment to the success and personal and
professional development of our students, for they are our future
leaders. The greatest contribution we can make to Kentucky is to
do an outstanding job of educating our students. Our College embarked
a few years ago on initiatives to educate our students in not just
skills they need to enter the job market, but also in the skills
they can use to become life-long learners and leaders. This
philosophy is already benefiting Kentucky, as many of our recent
graduates have already assumed leadership positions and are applying
their expertise to the challenges of agriculture and strengthening
Kentucky in the process.
Extension. The county Extension office and its staff continue to be the
key to the success of local communities around Kentucky. But agents
are being asked to assume ever greater and more complex responsibilities.
It is imperative that we provide our county agents the tools they
need to help lead their communities. Those tools include appropriate
compensation for their efforts, as well as training opportunities
for them to acquire expertise they need for application to local
problems as they arise. We also must continue to build the communications
infrastructure from Lexington to county offices so that the University
of Kentucky can become the window to the world for rural areas.
We can simultaneously meet the expectations of becoming a top
20" research institution, contributing to the new economy,
and sustaining our land-grant mission, but only if we set research
priorities appropriate to the needs and opportunities of Kentucky.
Our research efforts must continually assess the needs for research
and constantly refocus our efforts to meet those needs.
Partnerships. To meet the constantly changing challenges in
the wide range of subjects the College must address, we will need
to form partnerships and alliances with other institutions, agencies,
and leadership organizations so that we can tap into their expertise
and they into ours. By doing so, our College will be stronger, our
partners will be strengthened, so that together we can address the
important challenges ahead.
Change. As the pace of economic and agricultural transition
accelerates, we need to become more adaptable, more flexible and
more responsive as an organization. We must be constantly aware
of the needs of our stakeholders, and better support innovative
people and programs that respond to those needs.
Dean M. Scott Smith
Ph.D., 1978, Michigan State University, microbial ecology/soil
M.S., 1975, Cornell University, soil science
B.A., 1971, Cornell University, biology
Dean of College of Agriculture; Director of Agricultural
Experiment Station (AES); and Director of Cooperative Extension
Service, University of Kentucky since January 1, 2001
Associate Dean for Research and Associate Director of AES,
Chair, Department of Agronomy, UK, 1989-1999
Faculty, Department of Agronomy, UK, 1978-1988
Visiting Professor, University of California, Berkeley,
Field of expertise is nitrogen in soils. Has published
more than 50 refereed journal articles and invited reviews,
most of them related to the impact of agricultural practices
on crop productivity and environmental quality and the ecology
of nitrogen-transforming bacteria in soils.
Born July 7, 1949 in Laconia, New Hampshire
Married to Susan Smith
Three daughtersHannah, Emily, and Rebecca