Chair’s Note, December 2016

posted on December 5, 2016 10:16am

In recent months I have had the privilege of representing AFRE and MSU at several key events in China, Kenya and Nigeria.  Whether attending a global conference on food security in Africa or visiting with agricultural and food industry groups in Michigan or with USAID and World Bank leaders in Washington, D.C., I have discovered that many AFRE/MSU alumni are leading the way and creating positive change in these sectors and other arenas.  They are helping to shape national and global agricultural and food policies and leading the fight against poverty and food insecurity at home and abroad.   The accompanying articles in this issue of the AFRE Newsletter also highlight the many contributions of AFRE faculty members in addressing important policy issues in other areas, such as regional and state government development policy, environmental and resource economics, food and agribusiness management, and economics.

 

This is a busy and very exciting time in our department.  Among other things, life in AFRE this autumn has been dominated by two major events: the on-going strategic planning process work of input gathering and discussions within the seven subcommittees, and on-campus interviews for the six finalists for our two new faculty positions (agricultural and applied economics, and production economics and farm management).  We are fortunate to have a rich pool of applicants with strong skills and potentials.  As we look to the future, we see three key events on the horizon.  First, at the conclusion of the new faculty search, we will extend offers to the top candidates and hopefully welcome two new faculty members to our community.  Second, the next step in our strategic planning process is the AFRE departmental retreat, planned for December 1-2, where we will be discussing our options and alternative paths forward on various issues related to the current status and future direction of our department.  Third, we will conduct an external academic program review led by five well-respected members of our profession  March 22-24, 2017.

 

I have been quite impressed with the level of dedication and commitment from AFRE faculty and staff members in support of the various initiatives and activities in our department these past few months.  Thanks to their efforts, AFRE is doing very well in building on our areas of strength while we engage in strategic conversations about how to pursue and invest in new opportunities for future growth and success.   Thank you to all our faculty and staff members and students for making AFRE a great place to work and making a difference in our world.