More Than Dollars
The annual report of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station included in this issue highlights the continuing growth and advancement of our research programs.
Universities commonly measure the success of their research enterprise by monitoring inputs--what has been put into the program. They count the number of grants and projects, track outside funding, or compare their total research expenditures to that of other institutions. The UK College of Agriculture stacks up well in such comparisons; by many measures our research has achieved "Top 20" ranking.
Such yardsticks are meaningful. The phenomenal growth in our grant funding over the last five to six years is convincing evidence of the energy and credibility of the College's research scientists. It also demonstrates that the work we do is relevant to government agencies, foundations, and the private sector.
However, the true measures of research distinction should be based not on inputs but on outcomes. Over the long run, the real payoff on our research investment will be advances in plant and animal health and quality, improvements in nutrition and foods, and new strategies for sustainable use of natural resources. As expressed in the College's new strategic plan, "The College will be recognized for excellence in fostering discoveries that change the world...".
Occasionally, some of the College's supporters ask if the demand for research excellence at land grant colleges will detract from our historic commitment to learning, outreach, and problem solving that improves the lives of Kentuckians. The features you find in this and past issues of the Ag Magazine should put those fears to rest. Our College's research growth has been in areas of critical need, such as ag diversification, green industries, new bio-based enterprises, environmental quality, rural communities, and health and nutrition.
We are pleased to be among the "Top 20" agricultural research colleges, but we are most proud that our research continues to make a difference in Kentucky and around the world.
M. Scott Smith
Dean, College of Agriculture