Farewell from the Outgoing Chair

Before she stepped down as Chair of the Department of Animal Science, Dr. Janice Swanson prepared some farewell thoughts as we start a new year.

Janice Swanson

Dear ANS Alumni and Friends,

The holidays are behind us and 2018 is underway with energy and cheer.  The winter edition of the ANS newsletter will update you on late summer and fall activities and programs.

Animal Science entered the 2017 -2018 academic year with a 5.6% increase in student enrollment. The number of undergraduate students now serviced through our programs (including Institute of Ag Technology and Lyman Briggs students) is 582 based on official fall counts. We offer great scholarship opportunities for undergraduates in the animal sciences and are blessed with endowments from our alumni, faculty, friends and the dairy, livestock, equine, and poultry industries to support them. Graduate student numbers have held steady at 40. The support of graduate students has been an important focus of fundraising efforts as grants and other soft funding are the primary support for graduate research assistantships. State and federal funds that supported me and colleagues in my generation have long disappeared. Fortunately we have alumni, current faculty and retired faculty who established endowments targeted to support graduate student education that we will continue to grow with your support. Inside this edition there are great stories about our award winning students.

The lifeblood of our academic program not only consists of the great work of our faculty and staff but the South Campus livestock and poultry complexes that support their efforts. Our South Campus Teaching and Research Centers (aka the Farms) are fully engaged in the missions of teaching, research and extension/outreach. Over 60% of our courses with labs require hands on learning activities that engage our farms. These Centers have become increasingly important to training a more diverse demographic of students entering the animal sciences and to the training of students in the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM).  Our strong collaborations with the CVM has created important synergies in research and teaching that benefit both student populations and places a priority on maintaining our relationships and our farms. Your voice and support of these facilities is important.

This newsletter will be my last as Chair of this great department. It has been a privilege to serve the faculty, staff and students and to be a part of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources administrative team. I have enjoyed meeting many of you at various events and through our committees and councils. I encourage you take a moment to visit. Enjoy the photos of award winning faculty on the first floor of Anthony Hall, for many of you they will bring back great memories.  Visit the Pavilion and see the portraits of leaders honored by the respective livestock industries, of judging teams past and present, and the Block and Bridle Club honorees. Visit the South Campus farms to see the latest improvements and talk to a great group of managers, staff and students who each day give our animals the best of care and support the work of the faculty, staff and students. And stop by to introduce yourself to our new chair Dr. Pamela Ruegg. As Dr. Ruegg takes the reins on January 22nd I look forward to her leadership and to supporting her as she takes this department into its next 10 years.  I return to my faculty position in Animal Science and the Large Animal Clinical Sciences department with a disciplinary focus on animal behavior and addressing issues of animal welfare.  I look forward to working at the ground floor with our students and stakeholders.

Thank you for your support and continuing interest in the department. Best wishes for a great 2018. I will see you on the other side.

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