Today is my last update on this year’s academic realignment.
With the changes in the William H. Darr College of Agriculture (DCOAG), the college embraces the concept of farm-to-fork integration.
Darr is a unique piece of the Missouri State University puzzle, bringing distinctive sites, such as the Journagan Ranch and the Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station to the forefront of student learning. Through realignment, the college will expand its meaningful work in modern ways.
Two schools of thought
The biggest change in Darr – and the key to the farm-to-fork movement – is bringing hospitality leadership under the college umbrella.
In so doing, departments will combine into two schools within the college.
The first school will include hospitality leadership and agribusiness, education and communications.
The second school will include animal science and environmental plant science and natural resources.
These schools will be named at a later date.
Some changes have already taken place, and some are still in the works.
First, my thanks to Dr. Melissa Bledsoe for serving as interim dean as of June 1. We expect to launch a national search for the position in the fall.
Additionally, in June, Dr. Ken Brown transitioned away from the college to become chief academic strategy officer in the office of the provost. And Dr. Chin-Feng Hwang took on chancellorship of the Mountain Grove campus as of July 1.
Going forward, rather than department heads, each school will have a school director. An internal search was conducted in July, and the college appointed Dr. Kara Wolfe and Dr. Lacy Sukovaty as the school directors beginning Aug. 1.
The college also has worked with the efactory on an internal reorganization. This resulted in naming Matt Wommack, new assistant professor in environmental plant science, as farm operations coordinator, to support interdisciplinary research and education efforts at the college’s various properties, such as Shealy Farm and Kindrick Family Farm.
Ongoing work will adjust Darr’s advising model and boost its marketing and recruiting efforts.
More on the horizon
Darr is now positioned to focus on enhancing its statewide prominence and address food, forage and natural resources. The two new schools will offer a laser focus on the science and business/education sides of agriculture and are poised to further strategic leaders promoting innovative solutions.
Our build-out of the $5.2 million Agricultural Innovation Hub and the Small Animal Education Center projected for completion in 2025 comes at a perfect time for this college as it morphs in addressing 21st century needs.
It’s our hope these strategic changes will set the table for a streamlined farm-to-fork education.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State.