Making a Map for the Future:
The New Strategic Plan
Last fall, those of us in the College of Agriculture began reviewing our plans for the future. What will the College be in the 21st century? What values will guide us? What is our responsibility to the people of Kentucky? From these discussions, we moved on to defining our goals for the next three years. This self-definition and these goals make up the Colleges most recent strategic plan.
The plan reflects the core ideas of the Universitys new three-year strategic plan, The Dream and the Challenge, but it also speaks to the Colleges particular identity.
Our plan begins with a framework (shown here) that defines how we see the College and our guiding principles. Scott Smith, dean of the College; Nancy Cox, associate dean for research; and Larry Turner, associate dean for extension; talk about the plan and what it means. They were interviewed by Martha Jackson.
Who We Are
The College of Agriculture was founded as, and remains a land-grant institution, offering access to knowledge and learning to enhance the lives of Kentuckians. The College is fundamentally interdisciplinary; we apply the biological, physical, and social sciences to challenges in agricultural, food, and environmental systems. Our work encompasses farms and forests, food and fiber, families and communities.
The College holds a unique position as the home of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Our teaching, research, and extension programs are part of a national system that maintains a statewide presence and links local, state, and global issues.
The College will be recognized for excellence in fostering:
- learning that changes lives
- discoveries that change the world
- opportunities that shape the future.
The College affirms the University of Kentuckys values.
As a College, we are guided by the values underlying the land-grant philosophy:
- learningenhancing access to educational opportunities for all
- discoveryexpanding knowledge through research
- engagementcollaborating with diverse institutions, communities, and people to improve lives
The hallmark of our work is the integration of these three valueslearning, discovery,
and engagementinto programs that make a difference.
The mission of our College is:
- to promote sustainable farming and food systems, from production
- to enhance the health and well-being of people and the environment in
which they live
- to expand economic opportunity by sharing the knowledge and tools for wise, innovative uses of natural resources and development of human potential.
As full partners in the University of Kentucky and in every Kentucky county we:
- facilitate lifelong learning, informed by scholarship and research
- expand knowledge through creative research and discovery
- serve Kentuckians by sharing and applying knowledge.
The College shall sustain the land-grant heritage of achievement
in this challenging new century.
What will the College of Agriculture be like in the 21st century?
In the Colleges new plan we say we are going to strive for national prominence. What does that mean for the average Kentuckian?
We want to attract, develop, and retain a distinguished faculty as part of this plan. How will the state as a whole benefit from that?
Smith: Its important to remember that were not talking just about faculty, but all the people who work in the College, including county agents and staff. Recruiting and retaining the best people and giving them the best support is essential if we are to sustain excellence around the commonwealth.
Cox: Distinguished faculty not only produce excellent research for Kentucky, they also educate undergraduate and graduate students. The research discoveries that make a difference in Kentuckys business climate also provide an attractive environment for young people to stay here for their careers.
Turner: More and more, were building partnerships with other groups. Distinguished faculty and staff are a draw to make those partnerships happen, because they inspire confidence and excitement about what can be accomplished.
One of the plans goals is fostering diversity. Could you talk about that?
Smith: When you have a variety of people, thoughts, ideas, and cultures, it enhances learning and growing for our students and ourselves. This diversity of experience is an important part of the university experience for all of us.
Cox: One of the most impressive parts of the College of Agriculture environment is the atmosphere of inclusiveness. We want our employee population to reflect and enhance the diversity of Kentuckys population.
Turner: The whole commonwealth is becoming more diverse. The Hispanic population in Kentucky, for example, increased 189 percent from 1990 to 2000. To best reach all Kentuckians with our programs, its important to have faculty and staff that reflect the states diversity.
One of our goals is to elevate the quality of life for Kentuckians.
How are we going to do this?
Turner: Our clienteles needs and goals are changing. Were creating the partnerships I mentioned earlier to help us do a better job of meeting those needsthrough Health Education through Extension Leadership (HEEL), for example, but also with the College of Fine Arts, the College of Engineering, and the Gatton College of Business and Economics. And, we are listening to Kentuckians to make sure our programs are focused on their needs.
Cox: The Colleges research goal is not just publication in journals and getting grants, its helping Kentucky counties obtain technology and businesses, and thats part of improving quality of life.
Smith: This goal includes teaching as well as extension and research. One of the most important contributions we can make is to provide an exceptional education for the next generation of Kentuckys leaders.
How would you sum up whats noteworthy about this plan?
Smith: This plan expresses a vision that reaffirms our heritage and our continuing commitment to the land-grant philosophythe integration of research, extension, and teaching to solve problems and enhance lives. At the same time, it lays out an innovative path for the 21st century. While honoring, in full, our commitment to farming and rural communities, we will pursue new opportunities in agricultural, food, and environmental systems.
Assistant Dean for Diversity
Lionel Williamson, extension professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics, has been named Assistant Dean for Diversity for the College and, in that role, is heading up the Colleges new office for diversity.
His newly-created position grew out of recommendations made, in the spring of 2003, by a diversity task force for the College that was formed by Dean Scott Smith to explore how the College could best continue its efforts to be a dynamic, diverse, and welcoming institution.
One of the task forces recommendations included establishing an office to assist in diversity/inclusivity efforts.
Initial activities of Williamson and his staff have focused on recruitment and retention of minority students, recruitment of student interns for the summer, and diversity training for extension personnel.
Williamson, who will continue his extension duties, has been a member of the Colleges extension faculty since 1985. Much of his work has focused on cooperatives, including the American Private Enterprise System program in Kentucky, which encourages young people to learn more about cooperatives, government, and business. Williamson also provides programming and resources about cooperatives to farmers, farm groups, and agricultural professionals and policy makers. He has assisted in establishing a wide range of agricultural cooperatives in the state. He was a leader in the creation of the Kentucky Center for Cooperative Development and currently serves on its board of directors.
Williamson was a member of the Universitys Top 20 task force, which was set up to help move UK toward recognition as one of the nations 20 premier public research universities.
In late 2003, Williamson was appointed by President Lee T. Todd Jr. to the steering committee for a year-long, campuswide self-study of the Universitys athletic program. This self-study is part of the certification program for Division 1 of the National Collegiate Athletics Association. Williamson is chairing the Equity, Welfare, and Sporting Conduct Subcommittee.
Williamson earned his undergraduate degree from Alcorn State University in Mississippi and his masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Missouri.
She Aims to Be the
Healthy Lady on All Fronts
Amelia Brown 03 was still in kindergarten when she decided to become an extension agent. It was then that Myrna Herron, longtime family and consumer sciences agent in Monroe County, came to Browns school and showed the kids how to make nutritious snacks.
We called her the healthy lady. Brown said.
I decided that some day I was going to be the healthy lady, Brown said. And that is what happened. Brown became a Fayette County FCS agent in January, but theres a twist: Brown herself has severe liver failure.
Brown found out how ill she was just days before she entered UK as a freshman. A few months later, a specialist told her that she needed a transplant within two years or she would not live to graduate.
With about 50 percent of her liver functioning, Brown completed her education. She earned a family and consumer sciences degree in the School of Human Environmental Sciences, College of Agriculture and received the Sullivan Award at commencement in recognition of her community service. She was also a UK Ambassador, vice-president of Delta Gamma Sorority, senator-at-large in student government, and 2003 homecoming queen. Then and now, she volunteers for Kentucky Organ Donors Affiliates (KODA), helping to recruit potential organ donors.
Ive had some good medicines, Brown said. Keeping a positive attitude has really helped, too. Prayer, of course. A lot of people have thought about me. That means a lot. The doctors dont know what to think. Theyre pretty amazed that Im doing as well as I am.
Brown is still on the list for a liver transplant well enough not to be on the priority list, but not well enough to get off the list entirely.
She has jumped full force into her extension work, working with veteran Fayette FCS agent Diana Doggett. One of Browns current tasks is working on Fayette Countys Get Moving Kentucky! program, a statewide project to encourage exercise that was launched by Health Education through Extension Leadership (HEEL).
Her illness, she said, has made me a better person. Its made me realize whats important in life.
The future? I just want to be able to do all the things any other person my age wants to do. Its a fight, but I think Im going to win it.
Like Amelia Brown, Jamie Branscum, a 4-H agent in Trimble County, understands the importance of organ donors. Branscum, who had a kidney transplant in 1996, said her transplant has enabled me to be a part of an organization that I love and do a job that is very important to me.
For more information about becoming an organ donor, visit the Web site of Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates at www.kyorgandonor.org.
How about a spiffy College of Ag ball cap or a great denim shirt?
Go shopping at the new Web store at www.ca.uky.edu
then click on
College/Extension Store Front
Youll find mugs, pins, luggage tags, caps, portfolios, canvas totes, jackets, shirts, car decals, stadium cups and other items, all sporting the College or Extension signature.
Place the items you want in your electronic shopping cart, and pay by credit card. Its easy!