I Told You So
In the last issue of the Ag Magazine, I wrote about the very challenging academic goals established by President Todd's Top 20 Business Plan. I addressed the concern that emphasis on research and campus growth might compete with our land-grant mission of service to Kentucky. My column claimed "the College has been and always will be a major contributor to the University's Top 20 academic goals, but we will lead the way in service to Kentucky and the nation."
Well, I told you so. We recently learned that our Department of Plant Pathology has been ranked first nationally in faculty productivity. This rating system was based on research: faculty grants and awards, and scholarly articles and their impact. This is an amazing accomplishment. It assures us that UK's Top 20 goal is ambitious, yes, but not out of reach.
Has Plant Pathology abandoned its commitment to extension and service to attain this goal? Certainly not! A member of that department, Don Hershman, received the 2006 USDA Secretary's Honor Award, the nation's most prestigious recognition for service and impact in food and agriculture. In this issue you can read about the millions of dollars growers saved through the soybean rust surveillance network, which Don led. Plant Pathology faculty continue to provide exceptional extension support for farmers, foresters, and gardeners in Kentucky.
This is not just an isolated case of one department balancing academic excellence with the land-grant mission. Our Department of Entomology was ranked 10th in the same national ranking, and it sustains a distinguished, high-impact extension program.
In many excellent programs throughout the College, the most rigorous standards in academics and science don't compete with the land-grant mission—they support and reinforce it and undergird our efforts to continually improve our service to the people of Kentucky.
M. Scott Smith
Dean and Director,
College of Agriculture