Dr. Pamela Ruegg is coming back to Michigan after a long and productive absence. The new chair of the Department of Animal Science at Michigan State University shares some thoughts and plans for 2018 and beyond.
January 22, 2018
A few years ago, the MSU Alumni Association posted a classic photo (see below) of the MSU Dairy Club and challenged viewers to guess the year that it was taken. Brian Troyer, a former classmate in the MSU Dairy Science Department (this was before the merger) won the prize for identifying the year (1979). Amazingly, I can remember with clarity the chaos of posing for that photo with a calf, cow and cat (in case you are wondering, I am in the middle holding the cat). The time since that photo was taken has flown and based on my career plans at the time it would have been impossible for me to believe that I would return to MSU in 2018 as the leader of the Department of Animal Science. But indeed I have, and I am very glad to take over the reins of the department from the capable hands of Janice Swanson. While I have enjoyed working the last 19 years in extension and research in the Dairy Science Department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison I am thrilled to be back home and am looking forward to reconnecting with my friends in the Animal Science community in Michigan.
The changes that have occurred in Animal Agriculture during the last 40 years have been dramatic, and the careers of many of my classmates shown in the Dairy Club photo have likely gone in many directions that could not have been anticipated at the time. The same will be true for the current Animal Science students. The pace of change is likely to continue to accelerate, and my goal is to ensure that we will be well positioned to meet future needs. I am looking forward to working together with an outstanding group of faculty to position us to continue the tradition of excellence in teaching, research and extension/outreach that MSU has long been recognized for achieving. People are the key to success in academic departments, and my role as Department chair is to ensure that we are able to attract and retain the best individuals and ensure that they have access to the infrastructure and tools that allow them to flourish.
My plans for early 2018 are to learn the ropes of my new job, and begin to understand the needs of my faculty and our stakeholders. I hope to have an opportunity to interact with many of you and am looking forward to working together to maintain our responsiveness to the needs of our students and communities. As a student at MSU in 1979, it was also memorable as that is the year that Jud and Magic brought us our first NCAA Basketball championship. Let’s hope that 2018 brings similar great memories.