AFRE department looks forward to future after successful school year

From being ranked No. 4 in the world to faculty members receiving vast recognition, the Department of AFRE proves that Spartans Will.

June 1, 2017

Photo by Michigan State University

Chair's Introduction:

Congratulations to all the Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics (AFRE) students who are part of the 2017 Michigan State University graduating class. Across our three majors, a total of 102 undergraduate students completed their degrees: 66 in food industry management, 33 in agribusiness management, and six in environmental economics and management.  In addition, 17 students received graduate degrees: eight doctorate and nine master’s degrees.  Although their time in East Lansing is ending, they will continue to cherish the great memories of their years at MSU and can look forward to joining the growing network of MSU alumni.   

In the new 2017 global university rankings of agricultural and applied economics departments, the MSU Department of AFRE was ranked No. 4 in the world. This is a great honor that reflects the high quality of the contributions to creating new knowledge and economic opportunities by our excellent faculty, staff and students.  While this new recognition is exciting, we know that it is the outcome of past strategic choices and hard work by many over the past five to 10 years. In the past year, there has been increasing evidence of AFRE’s growing stature and reputation. Evidence of our growing reputation includes: AFRE faculty members receiving invitations to serve on distinguished international review panels and editorial boards, Scott Swinton’s election as president of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA), Bob Myers’ selection as an AAEA fellow and high quality publications in top economics and applied economics journals (e.g., Economic Journal, Journal of Political Economy, Science, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, World Development, Food Policy, Journal of Dairy Science, etc.).  Our AFRE colleagues have also won many awards in recognition of the impact of their contributions, including the AAEA Bruce Gardner Prize, the AAEA Distinguished Extension/Outreach Program Award, the Quality of Communication Award, the MSU-ISP Hudzik Emerging Leader Award and the MSU-CANR Outstanding Staff Member Award.       

To maintain our department's high standards and impact, we must continue to invest in our faculty, students and staff by providing an environment where innovative thinking, learning and outreach can continue to take place. To this end, AFRE embarked on a yearlong strategic planning process that culminated in both an internal retreat (in December 2016) and an external program review (in March 2017) led by five of the leading minds in the agricultural and applied economics profession.  The comprehensive review and planning process helped us to identify key strategic issues and priorities. In addition, we also came away with insightful recommendations for meeting future challenges in key areas: develop clear plans for faculty mentoring, retirements and long-term hiring, support relevant and high quality research, establish a funding model for an excellent graduate program; maintain and improve a high quality undergraduate program, increase the efficiency of extension and outreach programs, develop innovative alternatives for meeting financial and budgetary needs and develop a more effective classification scheme for a diverse faculty and staff.  

Our next step is to translate the outcomes and recommendations of the planning and review process into measurable actions by developing a carefully outlined implementation plan and framework. I look forward to working with you in this next phase of preparing AFRE for future excellence. We have many reasons to be thankful for a successful academic year, and we can collectively look to the future with great optimism.  

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